10th 'smart' meter fire hits home in Regina
Another Saskatchewan home has been hit by fire involving a "smart" power meter.
Nobody was hurt when the fire broke out Saturday morning at a townhouse unit on 4510 Harbour Village Way in Regina, the city's fire department said.
"It was high heat due to the electricity flowing through the device causing smoke more than anything else," said Randy Ryba, fire marshal for Regina Fire and Protective Services. "And that displayed itself on the side of the house. The structure was never in peril, at least in that point in time."
When crews arrived on scene they found the fire was contained to the meter box, with little damage except for some smoke damage up the side of the wall above the socket.
"Either the smart meter or the smart meter's mounting bracket were the only things that were damaged by this fire. So, with that said, SaskPower will be doing some investigation as to be it the holding device that held the meter or the meter itself," said Ryba.
According to Ryba, the threat of a fire caused by a smart meter expanding to the rest of the house is low, but there is still a chance it could happen.
"It would be rare that the fire could get out of the box and impinge on the side of your dwelling or structure. With that said, never say never. It certainly is a possibility -- remote, but certainly it is," said Ryba.
Fire inspectors went to SaskPower Monday afternoon to inspect the meter, which had been removed from the house on Saturday.
This is the tenth confirmed fire associated with SaskPower's Sensus smart meters this year.
Earlier this month, the head of SaskPower apologized to consumers and said the Crown utility will replace 105,000 of the meters, a process that is expected to take six to nine months and cost $47 million.
Meanwhile, the City of Medicine Hat, Alta., is taking a close look at the sockets its Sensus meters are plugged into — although none of them have caught fire.
The city started investigating after learning of the situation in Saskatchewan.
A Medicine Hat official has noted it's getting more and more calls for service due to overheating meters — which tends to happen when the main socket on a house is old.
City spokesperson Wilbur McLean said the old sockets may malfunction after being disturbed.
"As soon as you disturb that socket by removing a meter and put a new meter on it, it kind of awakens that issue," he said. "It doesn't matter what meter's going on that house."
Medicine Hat will not consider pulling out the meters until it finds evidence there's a problem with them.
He also couldn't say if the socket issue is to blame for Saskatchewan's problems.
Regina Fire and Protective Services is reminding people to call 9-1-1 and get out of the building if a smart meter catches fire. Do not spend time trying to contact SaskPower, as fire services will do that once they are notified.