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Safety advice: If power's off, turn all switches off

Wednesday morning, Hillsborough County firefighters sped to two homes in the 4200 block of Webber Road in Dover, where residents smelled smoke coming from their attics. As was the case with two fires the night before, the homes' power had just been restored after Hurricane Jeanne.

Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley said investigators think the sudden restoration of power factored into at least two of the fires. They're trying to determine what caused a third blaze, which destroyed a home in Lutz on Tuesday evening.

"It's not definite yet, but it's a good possibility the power was a factor in that one, too," Yeakley said. "Whenever you're without power for a few days and then it comes back on, you have to remember: Did you have your stove on when the power went off, and did you ever turn it off?"

Yeakley said a fire Wednesday in Dover started about 10 a.m., not long after Tampa Electric restored power. The fire started in electrical wiring and insulation in the attic, and investigators think the spark was power flowing back into the homes.

Tuesday night, a fire started in a home at Henry Avenue and El Dorado Drive in western Hillsborough. Yeakley said before the power went out during Jeanne, a halogen lamp was left on inside. When power was restored, the light bulb burst and sparked a fire in the curtains. No one was home at the time.

Meanwhile, investigators are still sifting through the charred remains of the Lutz home destroyed by fire Tuesday evening, also when no one was home.

"But one thing we know for sure right now," Yeakley said. "The fire started about 30 minutes after power was restored."

"We want people to go out and turn the main power breaker off when they lose power," he said. "Then when it comes back on, you can go through the house and check everything. Go about it slow, one appliance at a time."

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