Officials: Faulty plug sparks fire at 2-family home

Six people are homeless after a fire ravaged a two-family Long Branch home Saturday.

Officials say the fire at 50 Sixth Ave. was started by an overheated strip plug in the upstairs apartment. Investigators believe either the plug lacked an automatic shutoff or the strip plug malfunctioned.

Fire marshal Kevin Hayes says plugs of this sort need to be stored in safe conditions to prevent overheating. "You need to make sure the strip plug is not buried below the carpet, below baseboard heat," says Hayes. "These things need to have air around them to keep them cool."

It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the flames. No serious injuries have been reported.

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