Short circuits reported as biggest cause of fires

Firemen said that some 219 fires put 679 adult and 342 children on the streets in 2010.

The latest blaze was Tuesday morning in El Alto de Guadalupe where seven homes burned, evicting 42 persons, firemen said. The cause was attributed to a short circuit.

Short circuits are the principal cause of fires in Costa Rica, in part because many low-income homes are badly wired. The wood-frame construction of some of the low-income dwellings leads to roaring blazes when they are ignited. Sheet steel roofing also concentrates the heat.

Firemen reported that 17 persons died in fires in 2010, the highest total in the last four years. In all there were more than 700 fire calls, they added.

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