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Archive for May, 2012

IL Maintenance Worker Shocked

BETHALTO, IL — An electrical accident during construction at Civic Memorial High School sent a school maintenance worker to the hospital Friday and students to the empty Bethalto West building nearby.

Bethalto Fire Chief Rich Mersinger said an accident involving an electrical box at the school resulted in a Bethalto School District employee suffering burns to his face, necessitating him being taken to Alton Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

“They were doing electrical work in the mechanical room when one of the wires on the electrical panel grounded out and started sparking,” Mersinger said. “The burns weren’t severe, but he was transported to Alton Memorial for more evaluation.”

The incident caused a power outage at the school shortly before 10 a.m., and students were evacuated from the building, first to the bleacher area of the football field, and then to the nearby building formerly used as Bethalto West Elementary School.

“We had the students by the track, but once we saw the rain, we moved them to the old elementary,” Principal Debra Pitts said. “No students were injured.”

“The outage was not due to an Ameren issue,” said Victoria Busch, a media responder for the utility.

Mersinger said an electrician on the scene isolated the circuit that had caused the problem from the rest of the building and reconnected the power.

Mersinger said he gave the OK for classes to resume about 10:30 a.m., and the high school finished the day on its normal schedule.

Story via thetelegraph.com

NY: 2 Electrical Contractors Injured, OSHA Investigating

Binghampton, NY:  One person has been treated and released from Lourdes Hospital following an electrical accident that left two electrical contractors injured on the job Wednesday afternoon.

Lourdes Hospital reported two electrical contractors were injured Wednesday.

One suffered burns and was flown by medical helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

It has been determined that both men were employees of MATCO Electric.

MATCO was unable to release the names of the employees, but would says the company was aware of the accident and is working with Lourdes Hospital and OSHA.

According the Binghamton City Fire Marshal, it’s believed that one of the injured men came in contact with 480 volts of electricity encased in steel. That contact caused a flash.

The Fire Marshal has declared the cause accidental.

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is aware of the incident and has opened an inspection on the accident.

OSHA was unable to give any details on the inspection, but was able to confirm that its at the beginning stages of the inspection.

Source via WBGN.com

FL Electrical Worker Hospitalized

Mayo, FL — A Suwannee County man was seriously injured after making contact with a primary electrical line on Monday, Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Community Relations Manager Tom Tuckey confirmed.

According to Tuckey, 51-year-old Roger Alford was changing a transformer in the Mayo area when the accident occurred and was immediately rushed to Shands UF, where he remains.

“He came in contact with energized equipment while changing the transformer,” Tuckey explained.

As a result, Alford suffered burns, but is expected to make a full recovery and was even able to eat on his own Tuesday evening, Tuckey stated.

“We are just thankful that it is no worse than it is and we are keeping him and his family in our prayers,” Tuckey added.

Alford’s sister, Elizabeth Starling, is relieved that her brother is improving. According to Starling, Alford did talk a little Tuesday evening and will possibly undergo a skin graph on Friday.

“We’re so thankful that he is improving and words cannot express our gratitude for the prayers of everyone,” Starling said. “We just ask everyone to continue praying for his recovery.”

Tuckey emphasized that although it is uncertain what the length of Alford’s recovery might be, a full recovery is expected.

“We’ve had an excellent track record in safety, but this was a very unfortunate incident,” Tuckey said.

Alford, who has been employed with SVEC since 1989, was listed in fair condition at Shands UF Wednesday morning.

Story via Suwannee Democrat

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India Power Plant Worker Killed in Electrical Fire

CHENNAI/METTUR  INDIA: The Tamil Nadu government has ordered an enquiry into the electrical fire accident at the 840MW Mettur thermal power plant which killed one person. The fire was sparked off from a conveyor belt carrying coal to the furnace. Sources in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board told TOI that a probe would unearth the causes of the fire at the plant which forced managers to shut down the plant and deprive the state of a much-needed 800MW of supply.

Raising the issue in the state assembly, chief minister J Jayalalithaa said the fire, which broke out past midnight on Thursday, had completely damaged the conveyor belt and the space between the two towers in the coal handling area. All the four units at the power station were halted. Station chief engineer C Madhu told reporters soon after the fire was brought under control that the accident could have been caused by electrical short-circuit.

Story via Times of India

Canada Electrical Failure Sparks $630,000 Fire

Winnipeg, MB, Canada – A fire that destroyed two buildings in Winnipeg’s Exchange District Thursday morning was caused by an electrical failure in a music store, officials say.

The fire started around 9:30 a.m. CT Thursday shrouding the area around Notre Dame Avenue and Albert Street in smoke.

The fire was ultimately contained to a building in the 100 block of Albert Street. The building was home to two business, the music store and a restaurant.

Officials said Friday the damage was extensive and the total loss was estimated at $630,000. It included the business block and an old home.

Demolition crews tore down what remained of the buildings, for safety reasons, on Thursday after the fire was out.

The office of the fire commissioner and the city’s arson strike force investigated and determined the cause of the fire was accidental.

Story via CBCnews.com

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PA Tree Trimmer Electrocuted

EDGEWORTH, PA – The owner of a tree service died Wednesday afternoon, apparently from electrocution, after he touched a power line on a job in Edgeworth.

Police Chief John English said the victim, Chester Sipes, of DLS Tree Service, caught fire in his truck’s raised bucket on Chestnut Road.

“From what we can see, we believe his back hit a very powerful line. I witnessed it as I was coming up the road,” English said. “We tried to get him out. The truck was dead because it didn’t appear as if it was grounded, so we were having a difficult time getting it down.”

Sky 4 flew over the scene, as paramedics worked hard on the man in the yard of a house across the street from Edgeworth Elementary School. The bucket truck was parked a few feet away, with yellow tape surrounding it.

SLIDESHOW:  Images from the accident scene

Sipes, 47, of Aliquippa, was loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and taken to Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

Quaker Valley School District Superintendent Joseph Clapper said some students in a fourth-grade classroom, as well as bus drivers, witnessed the incident from Edgeworth Elementary. It also caused lights to flicker in the school.

Clapper said kindergarten students were being dismissed at the time, but it was not immediately clear if any of them saw what happened.

Allegheny County homicide detectives are investigating the man’s death.

Story via WTAE.com

Vestas Wind Turbine Arc Flash Accident

Vestas has released the findings of the investigation into what caused one of itsV112-3.0 MW wind turbines to catch fire on March 30.

According to the company, the fire started in the harmonic filter cabinet as aresult of a loose connection in the electrical system that created an arc flash.

To resolve the problem, Vestas says it will use a different type of washer on the electrical connections in the harmonic filter cabinet.

The solution is in the process of being implemented in the affected turbines, and customers are being informed. At the site, the burned nacelle has been replaced and is scheduled to be commissioned next week.

Most of the paused V112 turbines have been restarted or are in the process ofbeing restarted. Vestas says that as it returns the paused turbines to normal operations, it has also rescheduled and moved forward on already-planned upgrades. These upgrades are not related to the root cause, but rather preventative maintenance.

Vestas expects that all of the paused turbines will be returned to normal operationby the end of the month.

The company is also awaiting the reports from two external experts who workedside by side with Vestas investigators. These reports are expected within a fewweeks.

Source via North American Wind Power

MI Roofer Survives Electric Shock

Jason Hoffman remembers reading about a cartoon superhero who has special powers that allow him to survive an electric shock.

And now the 31-year-old roofer from Clawson believes it for himself.

On Tuesday, Hoffman was working on a roof in Rochester Hills when the nail gun his roofer friend was holding made contact with an uncovered electrical wire. For about 8 seconds his friend Chris Quinlan had 240 volts of electricity convulsing through his body, until Hoffman was able to kick him free and onto the ground 12 feet below.

Quinlan lived to tell this story.

8 seconds of chaos

Quinlan, of Royal Oak, and a crew of five others had just begun work for the morning on a home on Simpson Drive off Auburn Road in Rochester Hills. He has been working on roofs since he was 16; his dad does windows so this type of work is in his blood.

It was just before 10 a.m. and Quinlan was standing on the back corner of the roof near where the main electrical line attaches to the house. He was starting to install shingles around the pole that feeds the wires through the roof and into the home — “just like I’ve done about 500 times before,” he said — and was talking to his buddy, Jason Hoffman, who was installing shingles about 10 feet away.

“Chris was talking, and then he stopped,” Hoffman said. “I can’t explain the noise that I heard, but it made me look over. I saw him shaking. He had one arm wrapped around the pole. He was foaming at the mouth.

“I saw sparks of light coming out of him. It looked like sparklers. His chest had smoke in front of it.”

Hoffman jumped from where he stood near the chimney to the corner of the roof where Quinlan was stuck around the pole. Hoffman started screaming for help. He kicked his buddy — hard — to try to free him. Hoffman felt an electrical current come through his kicking leg, but Quinlan didn’t budge. Hoffman dropped down onto his back, pulled his knees into his chest and then used all of his force and body weight to try to kick his friend free. All the while he was shouting “Move! Move!”

This time, it worked. Quinlan flipped over the pole and off the roof. He landed on a wooden banister connected to the back deck down below, then rolled off the banister onto the ground.

The whole frantic chain of events took about 8 seconds.

In the meantime, the rest of the crew on the roof was also coming to help. “We were sliding all over because there weren’t any shingles on the roof yet; we had just laid the paper and it was so slippery,” said Matthew Thomas, 28, of Hazel Park.

Thomas jumped to the ground. In the meantime, Hoffman was calling 911 while climbing down a ladder.

“The 911 operator told me not to move him, and then all of a sudden I watched him stand up,” Hoffman said about Quinlan. “He said, ‘I’m OK; I’m OK’ and then walked to the front of the house.”

Several minutes later, crews from the Rochester Hills Fire Department and Oakland County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene. They transported Quinlan to McLaren Hospital in Pontiac.

He called his dad. He called his girlfriend. He was hooked up to a heart monitor and had X-rays. He sent a text message back to his co-workers on the job site to make sure they had covered up the roof in case it rained.

And then he started to cry.

‘I thought I was going to die’

“The doctors asked me if I needed something for the pain and I told them I wasn’t crying because I was in pain,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan remembers most of what happened: He remembers everything going black and then seeing flashes of white light. He remembers trying to move himself but his muscles locking up.

“It seemed like an eternity,” he said.”I thought, ‘This is it.’ I thought I was going to die. The next thing I knew I was on the ground.”

Quinlan said when he got to McLaren, there were a dozen people standing around, waiting. Someone announced, “this is the guy who was struck by electricity” and they all turned and looked.

“They had been waiting for me, but they didn’t expect to see me come in like that,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan left the hospital later Tuesday night without a broken bone or any damage to his heart. He had red burn marks on his arm and on both thighs. He had sore muscles and bruises from the fall.

The next morning, he returned to work.

A happy ending

On Wednesday afternoon, just as Quinlan, Hoffman and their crew were finishing up the roofing job they had started the day before, they reflected on how things happened — and why their buddy was saved.

“Jason and I met at a gas station two years ago,” Quinlan said about Hoffman, the friend who saved his life. “I keep thinking, ‘What if we had never met?’

“That’s just how the world rolls.”

Hoffman said the job wasn’t dangerous and that Quinlan wasn’t at all careless — it was the faulty wires that caused the electrical accident.

“They weren’t supposed to be uncovered like that,” Hoffman said. “That was wrong. That was the electrical company’s fault.” Shortly after the accident, the wires had been covered up with tape.

Quinlan said everything happens for a reason, and he wonders if this has anything to do with it: While he was in the hospital on Tuesday, the staff brought a defribrilator machine into his room, “just in case,” he said.

“The next thing I know, they’re pulling open the sheet from the room next to me and the guy is having a heart attack. They used the defribrilator on the guy and it saved his life.

“So you just never know.”

Story via Rochester Hills Patch

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