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A outlet in LR was plugged in but not in use burnt up as seen in pictures. Many other outlets and porch light went out also. The breaker didn't trip. By the looks of it I think it is copper. I cleaned out and wrapped the two corroded non black but burnt wires with electrical tape and replaced with a new outlet. Everything turned back on. I want to know if I should have it checked by an electrician to be safe and make sure the wire didn't burn further up in the cloth stuff that it is coming out of. I didn't pull it out or cut any but one small burnt piece off.


You wrapped those burnt wires in electrical tape and turned it back on? Please turn off that breaker and get an electrician in. And check that your smoke detectors have working batteries. At the very least all the wire in that box probably needs replacing.

The outlet likely caught fire from a loose connection. The other outlets affected are probably downstream from this one - power for them flows through that outlet, which is why it has 2 sets of wires. It is possible for this to happen without tripping the breaker. The loose connection acts more like a heating element, using lots of power but not enough to trip the breaker. An AFCI breaker might have tripped, but even then might not.

The wiring needs to be checked properly and any damaged sections replaced.

  • Thks Grant. I knew that would probably be the case. I have called a friend who is an electrician but he doesn't seem very enthusiastic about coming over and checking it for me. Tell me if you think there is anything as a "do it yourselfer"who knows only a little bit about electricity can do to rewire this on my own. I don't know all the terminology so that might make me appear more ignorant then I am about the whole project. I do understand how a lot of it works and I have studied electricity and currents etc. only through doing my PhD in biochemistry not as an electrician. Jan 8 '17 at 2:34
  • This site doesn't give me a lot of characters so I can't write Much. R U on Facebook by any chance? Maybe I could see if you could walk me through a few things or questions I have to see if I might could do it myself. I will tell U that I have wired and rewired most of my kitchen that are not on that breaker at all by myself. But this part of the house is the oldest part and has never been redone by anyone and there's a lot of older pieces or parts that I don't even know what they're called. Like for instance the white rope looking thing that the two wires come out of what is that called ? Jan 8 '17 at 2:40
  • An AFCI absolutely would have tripped repairing insulation with tape or shrink tubing is a legal method I can say this as a electrician with over 40years experience.
    – Ed Beal
    May 10 '19 at 18:36

First things first turn off that circuit and don't use it again until it has been properly inspected and repaired. Use extension cords from other rooms if you have to.

To inspect and repair it will require opening up the wall. No reason you can't do that yourself.

If you are lucky then it was just a fault at that outlet (bad connection, damaged insulation during installation, bit of loose wire in the wrong place etc) and you can cut back to good wire, fit one or more new boxes (you may need two if the wires come from multiple directions) and wire things back up.

If you are unluky then it may be old cable that is falling apart and the whole circuit may need rewiring.


I am an electrician and you did what I would do a loose connection at this receptacle causes arcing the arcing is just like welding the wires and connection points get hot and catch fire. This is why all junctions or splices are required to be made in a box. The reason your breaker did not trip was because the bad connection was the issue causing that arc not excessive current. Arc flashes can achieve the temperature of the Sun according to my arc flash training from osha. So from my view point you insulated the wires tape or shrink tubing is what I use.

  • Except the heat also seems to have annealed and oxidized the copper wire. Mar 2 '20 at 1:18
  • I have seen loose connections totally burn a wire off this will also cause the same problem.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 2 '20 at 14:27

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