Improperly Stored Household Batteries Blamed For Taylorsville Garage Fire

Jun 15, 2021, 11:03 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah – Jane Jensen went to hop in her car last month, only to discover the inside scorched. The car’s seats, vents, floormats and ceiling were melted and burned. The car’s windows were opaque – black from a fire’s smoke. The smell was hideous.

“It happened in the middle of the night and put itself out,” Jensen said, crediting the fact that the car’s windows had been rolled up, so the fire eventually ran out of air. “Luck all over the place, or blessed, one of those.”

It certainly could have been a lot worse.

The fire started inside the garage, where Jensen did not have smoke alarms. Her bedroom and the garage share a wall. She was asleep about 10 feet away.

“It really could have been a disaster and I’m so thankful it wasn’t,” she said.

The fire left behind a mess – and a mystery. Jensen said the responding fire crew was stumped by what had caused the blaze.

A fire investigator, however, combed through the debris and discovered the culprit.

“He said, ‘You have a bag of batteries back here.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m on my way to recycle them,'” Jensen recalled.

Something had crossed a 9-volt battery’s terminals, probably another battery, which had sparked the blaze, the fire expert told Jensen.

Jensen said she’s never heard 9-volt batteries could be responsible for starting a fire, but the KSL Investigators found fire department press releases and news articles from all over the country talking about this very issue.

Firefighter Patrick Costin with the Unified Fire Authority says 9-volt batteries should be stored with a piece of tape covering the two terminals. (KSL TV) Firefighter Patrick Costin with the Unified Fire Authority shows the KSL Investigators how a battery in a paper bag with other metal can lead to a fire. (KSL TV) Jane Jensen shows Matt Gephardt how the fire was about 10 feet from where she was sleeping. (KSL TV) Last month, Jane Jensen went to hop in her car only to discover it was scorched. (KSL TV)

Federal regulators have heard about it, too. The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes “consumer complaints” of batteries leading to “fire.” Some have had disastrous outcomes.

In 2015, a Colorado house fire made national headlines after a handful of 9-volt batteries were tossed in a paper bag to be recycled. Ironically, the homeowner told investigators that the batteries had been swapped out of smoke-detectors.

Firefighter Patrick Costin with the Unified Fire Authority said he’s also seen 9-volt batteries lead to house fires. He said a lot of battery fires tend to start in kitchen junk drawers, when a piece of metal comes in contact with both of the battery’s terminals.

“Could be pennies, other batteries, the random fork your kid puts in there at night,” Costin said. “Just the perfect mix of stuff comes together and causes a fire.”

By design, 9-volt batteries are more dangerous than other types of batteries because the terminals are near one another and can easily be crossed.

The good news, Costin said, is there is a fix and the fix is easy. When storing batteries, put a piece of tape over the terminals. That way, if the battery does push up against a piece of metal, there is still a buffer.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps restore West Valley man’s Social Security disability payments

Jeff Davis gets disability payments from the Social Security Administration. At least, he did up until his mom passed away in December.
2 days ago
The Pearsons tell KSL’s Matt Gephardt they should be reimbursed by either the airline or the onli...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Sandy couple Gets Gephardt after booking error left them paying out for pricey return flights

A Sandy couple bought roundtrip tickets to Hawaii, but when they discovered their return tickets were no good, they had to buy pricey replacements. When they were refused reimbursement, they decided to Get Gephardt.
3 days ago
Amy Olsen...
Matt Gephardt

Utahns cleared of DUI accusations are forced to pay to get their licenses back

Amy Olsen has her driving privilege back now, but it cost her $255. For her, it is a frustrating ordeal that began months earlier when a trooper pulled her over.
7 days ago
Gas bill...
Matt Gephardt

Gas company increasing bills for customers on fixed payments plan

If you're told you're going to pay the same price for 12 months, you wouldn't expect the price to go up. But when the natural gas company raised the rates on a Payson woman, she decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
7 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Matt Gephardt

$21 billion in gift cards go unused. Here’s how to avoid letting them go to waste

Gift cards: they are one of the most popular gifts to give and to receive, but that does not necessarily mean they are going to get used.
9 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

How to beat the dynamic pricing used by Amazon and many other retailers to pay less

The KSL Investigates team gives you information on how to beat dynamic pricing to get your money's worth and pay less.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Improperly Stored Household Batteries Blamed For Taylorsville Garage Fire