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There's a Deadly Danger Lurking in Your Junk Drawer: 'I Couldn't Believe It


“It can happen to any one of us at any time."

(Source: WCPO-TV screen shot)

“I couldn’t believe it…It’s real…batteries are dangerous."

That's David Miller's warning to everyone out there with a junk drawer, that catch-all storage space most people use to store odds and ends.

See, Miller made the mistake of putting old 9-volt batteries in his junk drawer after changing out the power supply in his smoke detectors. It was a costly mistake -- one that likely many of us are making. (And something we warned you about in 2012.)

“The morning of the fire, I had moved the bag around and that's apparently what caused the batteries to get into the right position to short against each other," Miller told WCPO-TV.

As Broadview Heights Asst. Chief Joe Fleming explained to the station, it's easy for the terminals of the battery to come in contact with metal in your drawer, heat up and burst into flames.

(Source: WCPO-TV screen shot)

How easy?

The station did an experiment of their own by throwing common items into drawer, and it only took a couple tries for it to go up in flames.

(Source: WCPO-TV screen shot)

“It can happen to any one of us at any time," John Desmarteau, president of the North Eastern Ohio Fire Prevention Association, told WCPO.

"A 9 volt battery is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another," a news release from the New Hampshire Department of Public Safety reads. "If the ends come in contact with anything metal i.e. aluminum foil, steel wool, paper clip, other batteries, etc. this will create the object to heat up and ignite a fire.

To prevent it, you can place the guard that sometimes comes with the batteries back over the terminals. A simpler fix is to place some electrical tape over the top before placing it in your drawer.

"Maybe not every battery is going to start a fire but they can, so it's a simple thing to prevent," Miller warned.

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