Milton Fire responds to sump pump incidents

The Milton Fire Department recently responded to two serious incidents of sump pumps overheating in residential homes

The severity of these recent incidents resulted in thousands of dollars in financial losses for home owners/occupants, and in one case, almost causing serious injury and death. These recent fires had in common that they were a stem or column style of sump pump; the submersible style of pump was not a factor in any recent incidents. The majority of sump pump fires were also caused by homeowner/occupant error, such as keeping combustible materials near the pump.

These two incidents are just a small sample representative of the increasing numbers of fire calls originating due to a sump pump issue over the past few years. After extensive investigation, research and consultation, the Milton Fire Department wants to share their learnings with residents to ensure they are well informed about how to prevent sump fires in their homes in the future.

The Milton Fire Department would like residents to note the following recommendations regarding sump pumps:

  • Choose a submersible pump as a safer alternative instead of a stem or column style of pump.
  • Keep the area around the pump free of all combustibles. Ensure supply pipes to the pump are clear of clogs; the pit should be free of debris and the pump should kick on and off as intended.
  • Check sump pumps before it rains, at least once in the fall and once in the spring. Use a garden hose or a bucket of water to fill up the sump and make sure the pump starts, runs properly, drains water properly, and then switches off.
  • Keep submersible pumps level and column/stem pumps vertical.
  • Ensure the motor is not tilted as that may cause damage from internal overheating.
  • If there is any suspicion of malfunction with your sump pump, call for an inspection.

For information on sump pumps and fire prevention, visit Milton Fire Department website.