Fire in Wisconsin family's 'junk drawer' likely started by 9-volt battery

( Madison Fire Department )

Most of us have one—a “junk drawer” for all the miscellaneous items that do not belong anywhere else in our homes. One Wisconsin family’s junk drawer, however, turned out to be a fire hazard. 

Last Friday, homeowners in Madison noticed smoke coming from a drawer in their kitchen, according to the Madison Fire Department. When they opened the drawer, flames flared up.  

The homeowners removed the drawer from the kitchen, took it outside and doused it with snow to put the fire out. 

The junk drawer contained a number of electrical items, according to the fire department, including assorted batteries, some of which were not stored in any kind of packaging. 

The homeowners reported placing two charging cords in the drawer about 30 minutes before the fire started. Fire investigators believe putting the charging cords in the drawer moved some of the other items, causing a metal object to touch a battery. This caused a short that produced enough heat to ignite the other materials inside the drawer. 

The damage from the fire was minimal since the homeowners caught the fire early and put it out right away.  

The fire department is warning people to keep extra batteries stored in their original packaging or to keep the plastic cap in place that protects the positive and negative posts on the end of 9-volt batteries to prevent them from coming into contact with other metal objects, creating a fire hazard.