Fires last week that destroyed a Clinton mobile home and heavily damaged a house in Smithfield were caused by electrical issues, according to a state fire investigator.

Sgt. Joel Davis of the state fire marshal’s office said Tuesday the fire that damaged a house last Wednesday at 21 Mitchell Lane in Smithfield started on the inside of an exterior wall on the first floor.

He said two wires “came in contact with each other and shorted.”

The house on the shore of North Pond is owned by Donna Brown, who lived there with Cooper, her 3-year-old golden retriever-collie mix. Brown, who owns a Prudential insurance agency in Skowhegan, said she left her home around 7:30 a.m. to go to work and everything was fine. The fire was reported just after 9:30 a.m. by a neighbor who woke to see smoke coming from the house and called 911. Brown lost most of her belongings in the fire.

Firefighters from Smithfield, Belgrade, Oakland, Rome and Norridgewock fought the fire.

The Clinton fire on Thursday destroyed a double wide mobile home owned by Arthur Clement, a former state representative. The cause of that fire was an overloaded power strip in a bedroom, according to Davis.

Clement, a Democrat who represented House District 104 from 1992-1994 and has run for office several times since, was not home when the fire broke out just before 11:15 a.m. He had left the home around 8 a.m., he said.

Fire Chief Gary Petley said at the scene that Clement said the power strip had been buzzing on and off.

A neighbor called Clement to notify him that his home was on fire. After he arrived at the scene, he said he had put the power strip in the bedroom a week-and-a-half before and had plugged items into it, including a heating pad, fan and clock.

Clinton fire Lt. Mark Bellaire said Tuesday that a lot of power strips are rated for only 10 to 15 amps or less and that the items plugged into the strip probably exceeded that.

Bellaire recommended that people restrict power strip usage to small appliances such as alarm clocks and radios.

He said items that use more electricity, like an an air conditioner or heating blanket, should be plugged directly into an outlet.

Firefighters from Clinton, Winslow, Fairfield, Canaan and Burnham fought that fire.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.