Fire officials warn residents to turn off circuit breakers after losing power

Hope Valley Wyoming Fire District Chief Justin Lee recommends that people who've lost power turn off their circuit breaker before they leave their house to prevent a power surge once electricity is restored. (WJAR)

A Hopkinton woman, who lost her home in a fire, is warning others to turn off their circuit breakers after they lose power.

Leah Benjamin’s 19th Century farmhouse was destroyed on Saturday night, one day after she lost power during the nor’easter.

While she was away, her power was restored. She told NBC 10 News she returned home shortly after the electricity was back on and her home was on fire.

“I pulled in the driveway and I saw smoke coming out of the windows,” Benjamin said.

The Rhode Island Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause, but Benjamin believes the fire was sparked by a power surge.

Hope Valley Wyoming Fire District Chief Justin Lee recommends that people who've lost power turn off their circuit breaker before they leave their house to prevent a power surge once electricity is restored.

“You could just turn that right off and so when the power comes on, outside if there's a surge, it'll prevent the power coming into your house,” Lee said.

It's a tough lesson learned, but Benjamin is counting her blessings. She didn't lose any of her sheep to the fire, and she and her daughter are alive.

“We could have been asleep up there when the fire started,” Benjamin said. “We wouldn't be alive right now.”

Firefighters recommend unplugging your devices when you lose power and buying surge protectors.

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