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Unexpected fire hazard: 9-volt batteries

CONWAY — North Conway fire chief Patrick L. Preece and the N.H. State Fire Marshal's Office are encouraging people to locate their extra batteries and learn how to store them properly or else they run the risk of creating a fire hazard.
According to Preece, a fire broke out in a kitchen "junk" drawer which the resident stated she had just cleaned and organized last month. The fire produced smoke throughout the first floor of the home. In the drawer were spare keys, a cigarette lighter, paper clips, eye glass cleaner, and some batteries in a baggie along with everything else that you find in a "junk" drawer.
The local fire department determined the cause of the fire to be from a 9-volt battery stored in the same baggie with other batteries.
"The 9-volt battery rubbed against another battery and ignited the fire," according to Preece. "In the homeowner's words, 'We were fortunate not have been away for the weekend!'"
Preece said a 9-volt battery is a fire hazard because "the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another. If the ends come in contact with anything metal, i.e. aluminum foil, steel wool, paper clip, other batteries, etc., this will create the object to heat up and ignite a fire."
The North Conway Fire Department recommends you store 9-volt batteries by keeping them in their original packaging or keep the nodes covered. For disposal, Preece suggests making sure that the positive and negative posts are safely wrapped in electrical tape.
Also, a friendly reminder from the fire department, remember to check your smoke alarms each month to ensure your family has the early warning to get out safely if a fire should occur in your home.
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