Officials say they’re a rare occurrence, but twice in the same week, fires have started that were later blamed on charging cell phones.

In a Rimbey home Sunday night, a 16-year-old woke to flames in his bedroom.

“We went to bed around 10:30 p.m., and an hour and a half later woke to our oldest child sleeping in the basement, just screaming for help,” Rob Schultz told CTV News in a phone interview.

Schultz said he looked in his room and saw flames on the teenager’s bed – and said quick thinking probably saved their home.

“We thought ‘Okay, we better put this out right now or the house is going to burn down’,” Schultz said.

“[I] gave it a shot with the fire extinguisher and it was extinguished quickly but there was a lot of smoke.”

The teen suffered a number of small but serious burns and was taken to hospital. In the end, minor smoke and fire damage to the home was contained to the one bedroom.

In both fires, everyone inside the homes escaped safely and investigators said the fires were started by charging cell phones.

Then, on Thursday morning, firefighters were called to fire in a townhouse in the area of 151 Avenue and 22 Street.

Russell Croome with Edmonton Fire Rescue said a charging cell phone is always at risk of catching fire.

“All these chargers and battery operated devices have the potential for generating heat, so there’s always a risk they could ignite,” Croome told CTV News, saying users should make sure they’re using the device and charger properly.

“[Pay] attention to the wiring and [make] sure it’s in good condition, that the plug is connected to the receptacle properly.”

Schultz said he had noticed his son’s mobile phone would heat up – but didn’t realize what that could lead to.

“His phone always got hot,” Schultz said. “Knowing what I know now I would tell people ‘Pay attention to your phones when they’re charging’.”

Amit Sharma from Bell Mobility – CTV News and Bell Mobility are owned by BCE inc. – said the reason a charging phone overheats often lies in the cord used to charge the device.

“Most of the time phones get overheated because there’s a difference in the amps and the voltage,” Sharma said, saying off-brand chargers can sometimes be to blame.

“Bought from the dollar store or the gas station, they are $1 to $2, but they are not certified, which affects the battery of the phone because the amps are different,” Sharma said.

Sharma said users should look for certified charging cables from a reputable dealer.

“They’re not certified so they give more ampage to the phone, so they get overheated.”

Croome said such fires “seldom” happen, but there are ways to reduce the risk.

“Anything you are charging, have it on a hard surface, it allows air to circulate around it, and if it does ignite at all like a hard table it’s hard to get ignited,” Croome said.

Now, Schultz said his family is taking no chances, and doing what they can to prevent any issues in the future.

“That’s step one, knowing your phone doesn’t get hot when you’re charging it,” Schultz said.

“Since the fire, we went and bought some Apple cords, to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

With files from Nicole Weisberg