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Fire 'caused by a heat lamp' kills tortoise, rabbit & guinea pigs

Discussion in 'Tortoises in the News' started by JoesMum, Apr 6, 2017.

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  1. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  2. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    How sad. I used to have guinea pigs and a rabbit, as well as a tortoise. I would be devastated if this happened to me.
  3. nikitab

    nikitab Member

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    Mine almost caught fire yesterday, luckily I was home and smelled it before it got serious, I rushed to turn it off and had to wake my tort to air the smell out of the table. Wasn't good at all I was so worried
  4. keepergale

    keepergale Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    We had a tortoise heat lamp fire story here in San Diego two days ago.
    Not me just a local news story
  5. Souptugo

    Souptugo Active Member

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    So what usually causes the fires? Is it because of bad sockets? Should the sockets be replaced each time we replace the bulbs?

    Or are people using home made rigs for thermostats etc... and not wiring them properly?

    Curious to know because I have a Ceramic heater and 2 160 watt MVBs all connected to 1 power bar. Each on separate Ceramic sockets.
  6. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Commonly it is the clamp type fitting failing. They don't grip securely and fall. So a very hot bulb starts touching something it shouldn't and starts a fire.

    On TFO we always recommend that lamps are hung from a secure stand as they are much less likely to fall.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    People don't mount them correctly or they don't mount them at all. Some people use the clamps that come with the fixtures. Those are totally unreliable and should not be used. Some people rest the heat lamp on top of a metal screen. Then they move it and set it face down on something wooden or plastic. Often they set it down somewhere else after dark when the bulb is off and cool, then they open the lid and change the water, or whatever, and forget to put the lamp back where it belongs. Then they go to work in the morning. When the timer kicks the heat lamp on, it starts a fire.

    This is why I continuously tell people to hang them from over head. Then you don't have to move them to open the lid, and there is no clamp to fail.
    ethan508, JoesMum and Souptugo like this.
  8. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I try to suggest two forms of insurance, such as using a zip tie or wire with the clamp or fixture as a safeguard against falling.
    This won't help if there is a very powerful and hot lamp or element in a housing/socket not designed for it.
    This is also all too common. Just because the high wattage bulb screws into the plastic housing doesn't mean it's safe.
  9. GGboy17

    GGboy17 Member

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    I love keeping reptile's but the danger that comes with these heat lamps is my biggest fear. :(
  10. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    They must be secured very sturdily and they must be compatable, element and fixture and not near any item that can melt, burn or catch fire.
    Many thousands of enthusiasts use heat "lamps" every day with no problems.
    JoesMum likes this.
  11. ethan508

    ethan508 Member

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    The surface temperature of a CHE can be 400+ °F (I just checked mine 100W with an IR temperature gun). Plastics and wood will seriously degrade above 200 °F. So ensure that your metal or non-ceramic parts are a good distance (6"-12") from your heat source. Also use good mechanical fastening systems to hold your lamps; C-clamps, screws, and bailing wire are superior to spring-clamps, zip ties and rope/string.
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