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   I have recently investigated a residential fire involving a hot tub. In my years of fire experience and short 5 years of fire investigation, this is the first fire I have investigated that places a hot tub right at the point of origin. Has anyone else had this kind of fire. What did you see regarding the pump or temperature control box that could cause a fire? My point of origin is definitely in that area but I am not familiar enough with hot tubs and their components to determine what could have caused the fire. Thank you for your ideas.  -Bill

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Replies to This Discussion

Just brainstorming here....is the breaker for the spa tripped? Is it the appropriate breaker for the gauge wire that was run? I cant say how many times I've seen too big of a breaker for the ampacity of the wire (I'm sure you have too). Perhaps the pump motor was overdrawing current? Was the thermostat operating properly, or maybe it malfunctioned and was constantly calling for heat? Any discernable patterns on the spa?  

 

Just a disclaimer....I am not the voice of experience here. 9 years as a career FF and only 3 as an investigator. However my first solo investigation was a garage fire caused by 110V hot tub motor overdrawing current on an overloaded 15 amp circuit, which was protected by a 20 amp breaker. So your case brings back some fond memories! LOL. Good luck.

 

-Andy

Hi Bill,

I found your post from googling "hot tub fire". 2 nights ago we experienced a power surge to our house. The next day I went into my hot tub and the lights didn't work. I opened up the panel only to find the electrical box had exploded open and there were obvious signs of charring and fire. 

The hot tub is brand new (2 months old). We have a NEW house and we had the electrical done by a qualified electrician and to code.

Also, what struck me as odd was that the casing for the electrical box is made of plastic. This is odd because there are some heavy duty wires coming into there and this would never be allowed in a house, yet the hot tub is in essence connected to the house via a deck, etc.

Let me know if you want me to send you some pictures.

Ryan

Andrew,

  Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately all of your questions are hard to answer because there was nothing left of the house except the basement after the fire. I based my area of origin on witness accounts of where the fire was first observed. Yes, I see the overprotection of devices too often myself. There had been no previous problems with this spa. Again, I appreciate your response. Be safe.  -BF
 
Andrew Vandawalker said:

Just brainstorming here....is the breaker for the spa tripped? Is it the appropriate breaker for the gauge wire that was run? I cant say how many times I've seen too big of a breaker for the ampacity of the wire (I'm sure you have too). Perhaps the pump motor was overdrawing current? Was the thermostat operating properly, or maybe it malfunctioned and was constantly calling for heat? Any discernable patterns on the spa?  

 

Just a disclaimer....I am not the voice of experience here. 9 years as a career FF and only 3 as an investigator. However my first solo investigation was a garage fire caused by 110V hot tub motor overdrawing current on an overloaded 15 amp circuit, which was protected by a 20 amp breaker. So your case brings back some fond memories! LOL. Good luck.

 

-Andy

Thanks Ryan. If I remember right, this spa had a metal electric panel. I appreciate you providing me some information on what occurred at your house. My email is bfulk@gmrc.com. I would be interested in seeing some photos if they are available. Again, thanks for the information.  -BF
 
Ryan said:

Hi Bill,

I found your post from googling "hot tub fire". 2 nights ago we experienced a power surge to our house. The next day I went into my hot tub and the lights didn't work. I opened up the panel only to find the electrical box had exploded open and there were obvious signs of charring and fire. 

The hot tub is brand new (2 months old). We have a NEW house and we had the electrical done by a qualified electrician and to code.

Also, what struck me as odd was that the casing for the electrical box is made of plastic. This is odd because there are some heavy duty wires coming into there and this would never be allowed in a house, yet the hot tub is in essence connected to the house via a deck, etc.

Let me know if you want me to send you some pictures.

Ryan

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