12 OYS: Storing 9-volt batteries in junk drawer could start fire

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email
We keep all sorts of of things in our junk drawers. Everything from restaurant menus and spare keys, to lose change and even batteries. But those batteries, especially the 9-volts could easily start a fire in your home or garage.


News 12 at 6 o'clock / August 28, 2014

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Nine-volt batteries are a common household item usually thrown in a junk drawer.

Ryan Burgess with Batteries Plus Bulbs in Evans said while the 9-volt is popular, it could be a hazard if improperly stored. For example, in your kitchen junk drawer.

"They have exposed terminals. The terminals are on the top directly, versus opposite sides so they have a higher risk of actually connecting," said Burgess.

Those metal surfaces coming in contact with the terminals on a 9-volt battery can ignite a fire fast.

"If you store them loosely in a drawer they can come in contact with a metal surface," said Danny Kuhlmann, Special Operations Chief with Columbia County Fire Rescue.

Those metal surfaces coming in contact with the terminals on a 9-volt battery can ignite a fire fast.

Everything from a metal fork, car keys and even steel wool. The electric current can instantly arc, and catch nearby paper and even plastic on fire.

"Just touching it lightly you can see how easily it sparks and arcs," Kuhlmann said.

12 On Your Side conducted its own experiment. We placed steel wool on top of some 9-volts and the result was instant sparks. Then we tried it inside a plastic cup and the results were clearly enough to potentially start a fire.

Fire experts said just avoid storing those 9-volts in junk drawers or any other enclosed space where they can come in contact with metals. An even better option is to keep those 9-volt batteries in the original packaging or in a battery rack.

But if you are going to still store your batteries loose in a drawer, especially 9-volts, put a piece of tape over the terminals. Any kind of tape will work.

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