The human body has five senses for a reason. That reason, of course, is survival. We were having a family meeting the other day about what to do if someone were to smell smoke in the house and/or hear the smoke alarm go off.

These types of things are extremely important. All too often, people let their batteries run out in smoke detectors or not have a "meeting spot" if all were to get out of the house separately in a fire.


And, no, I don't mean fishy as in suspicious. I mean an actual fish smell. Well, believe it or not, that "fishy smell" can be indicative of something far worse.

When you have a fishy smell in your home that you can’t pinpoint, you might first think it is a plumbing or HVAC issue. But electrical components often give off this smell when overheated, and 90% of the time this odor is a sign of a serious electrical issue.

The electrical components and wires in your walls and outlets are coated with heat resistant chemicals and plastic coating for insulation. When these chemicals and plastic heat up significantly, they give off a burning odor that can smell like fish.

I had the chance to speak with Pittsfield Fire Deputy Chief Dan Garner about how serious this can be.

Some say an electrical fire smells like fish. I’ve never made that correlation. An electrical fire initially has a fairly acrid smell of plastic burning. It’s the acrid odor that alerts someone that there may be an issue somewhere.

Anytime there is such an odor in your home that isn’t normal to you and it persists/doesn’t go away or comes and goes I’d recommend calling 911 and have the FD respond.

Often times if you ignore such an odor you can become adaptive to it by olfactory fatigue. -Pittsfield, MA Deputy Chief Daniel Garner

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