Each year, there are about 3,900 hotel and motel fires are reported to U.S. fire departments, most of which are caused by cooking. However, a recent fire in Fargo, North Dakota was caused by something small, ordinary and innocuous.
A battery charger.
According to a report from local news affiliate WDAY, the Fargo Fire Department responded to a small fire at the Vista Inn hotel. When firefighters got into the room, they found a small fire burning on top of a dresser, which they quickly put out. The Fargo Fire Department said that an overheated battery charger plugged into equipment in the room caused the fire.
The hotel guest staying in the room was obliged to find other lodging, because of the smoke damage. Total damages were estimated at $6,000.
As weird as a fire caused by a battery charger might seem, it’s not the strangest way a hotel fire has started.
Back in 2013, police in Lebanon, Tennessee started taking preventative measures against meth cooks, who began setting up shop in hotels and motels. One motel meth lab even resulted in an explosion; the blast was powerful enough to send the door flying and knock a wall over.
Worse (or better, depending on how you look at things), authorities charged a hotel security officer that year with deliberately setting multiple fires in two Manhattan hotels he’d been working at. His motive was to try to scare off guests in order to make his job easier.
Most recently, fake palm trees fueled a massive blaze at a hotel in Las Vegas at the end of July. According to Clark County Battalion Chief Leo Durkin the trees were made from a material that’s commonly used on the Las Vegas strip for facades and decorations. Though it can take a bit of effort to ignite, the foam burns quickly and intensely once it catches fire.
Maybe an overheated battery charger isn’t so weird?