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Light bulbs spark church annex fire
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Pleasant Grove AME Church annex was under construction when the building burned Friday. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Sixty-watt bulbs, used in place of 40-watt bulbs, have been determined to be the cause of a blaze that heavily damaged a church annex Friday, according to authorities.
The determination was made after an investigation Saturday by Hinesville Deputy Fire Marshall George Screws, Fire Coordinator James Ashdown, Fire Marshal Rick Perryman, Fire Inspector George Smith, State Fire Marshals Brian Clavir and Bruce Gourlie, using his dog Cotton, and E.C. Painter from the Georgia Bureau of ATF.
The fire, which started just before 4 p.m., caused significant damage to the Pleasant Grove AME Church annex that was only weeks away from being completed.
The entire roof of the building was destroyed and the interior of the structure incurred heavy smoke and fire damage.
“The center of the chapel appeared to us as the point of origin,” Screws said. “We were able to determine that the cause of the fire was an electrical overload to a circuit, but it was not done intentional so it will be classified as an accidental fire,” he said.
The officials determined someone accidentally used 60-watt bulbs in a lighting fixture that was clearly marked for 40 watts or below. The lighting fixture had eight bulbs that were exceeding the electrical wattage and caused the circuit to overload and burn.
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