This is a news release from the Ithaca Fire Department. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email

ITHACA, N.Y. —A recent fire in Ithaca was determined to be caused by an improperly used “Hot Plate.” Luckily, no one was injured and the sprinkler and fire alarm system worked as designed.

A quick response from firefighters kept the fire from spreading, and while there was damage, it could have been far worse.

Related — Update: No one injured in room fire at Ithaca College

Most colleges, apartment owners and rental agencies have regulations and prohibited items that they don’t want being used in their buildings.

The Property Maintenance Code of New York State section 403.2 states:

“… cooking shall not be permitted in any rooming unit or dormitory unit, and a cooking facility or appliance shall not be permitted to be present in the rooming unit or dormitory unit.”

Cooking and Heating are the leading causes of fires in our country and following manufactures recommendations, room use policies and using common sense can go a long way towards fire safety.

Among many items listed as “Prohibited” in most college’s Residential Life Policies and apartment leases are:

  • Electric fry pans, hot plates, hot pots.
  • Extension cords, multi-plug adapters, non-surge protected power strips, dimmer switches.
  • Halogen lamps, lava lamps, sun lamps, heat lamps.
  • Electric blankets, space heaters.

They are listed as “Prohibited” for good reason. These items, if not used properly can, and have, caused fires in our area.

A few tips from the Ithaca Fire Department to keep you, your roommates and neighbors safe are:

  • Be sure any appliances you buy or use are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed. Don’t use cheap knock offs!
  • Don’t use electric fry pans, hot plates, hot pots in your room.
  • Extension cords are meant for temporary use. Don’t use them as a permanent means for getting electricity somewhere.
  • Don’t use non-surge protected power strips, and don’t “daisy chain” one strip to another, to another.
  • Any heating or heavy draw appliance should be plugged directly into an outlet, not a strip or extension cord.
  • Be cautious when using electric blankets, space heaters, halogen lamps, lava lamps, etc.
  • Always follow manufactures recommendations and don’t drape anything combustible over or near them.

Finally, when in doubt, check with your landlord, Resident Assistant or electrician about the use of an electrical appliance. While the device may be new, and UL listed, the building may have older wiring, that was never designed to handle large electrical loads, and could cause a fire.

Follow these simple rules to keep you, your roommates and neighbors safe.

For more information and safety tips, follow the Ithaca Fire Department on Facebook.

Featured photo provided