Esparza man dies trapped in home with suspect electrical system

Cuerpo de Bomberos photo Part of electrical system

Costa Rica’s new electrical code came too late for Fidel Vindas Ureña, 84. The Salinas de Esparza resident died when a fire leveled his home.

Fire investigators said that the electrical system in the home was substandard and that the cause was an electrical problem in the kitchen. Vindas died while trying to get out a window of his home. Firemen had trouble getting to the blaze because the home was encircled by a fence with barbed wire and a steel access.

Costa Rican officials decreed a new electrical code last month. But it would not take an electrical engineer to see that the system was amiss in the Vindas home. The electrical cables were not contained in plastic channels or conduits, said fire fighters, and the electrical cables were of different gauges. The entry panel was sub-standard, too.

Adding to the blaze was the fact that Vindas was a recycler. He had large amounts of paper and plastic in his home. He was trapped in a bedroom, fire fighters said.

The blaze was reported at 3:47 a.m.

The Judicial Investigating Organization has not yet said that the death was an accident. However, K-9 dogs at the scene did not detect any scent of accelerants.

The new electrical decree came out Feb. 15 in the La Gaceta official newspaper.

The regulations apply to any additions of remodeling of any structure. And buildings that accommodate more than 100 persons, such as schools, hospitals and dance halls, have to be inspected every five years

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