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Archive for June, 2012

CA: $100K Loss in Metalworking Shop Electrical Fire

SOUTH BOYLE HEIGHTS, CA:  A tenacious effort by one hundred firefighters spared the bulk of a South Boyle Heights metalworking shop on Tuesday night.  The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 8:23 PM on June 19, 2012, to find fire through the roof of a 75′ x 40′ one-story industrial building at 1465 South Lorena Street in South Boyle heights, which housed multiple metalcrafting businesses under a single metal roof supported by wood-frame and stucco walls.
Despite intense flames reaching skyward and threatening adjacent firms, Los Angeles and City of Vernon firefighters worked side-by-side to skilfully confine the greater alarm blaze to the structure of fire origin, preventing it from consuming any more than one-third of the building.
The fire was extinguished in just 45 minutes, and no injuries were reported.

Fire loss has been estimated at $100,000 ($75,000 structure & $25,000 contents). The cause of the blaze was determined to be an electrical issue near an interior power panel.

Story via LAFD News

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NY: OSHA fines Zotos Int. $233k for Electrical Hazards

June 26, 2012 1 comment

Syracuse, NY:  Federal workplace safety officials have hit hair care manufacturer Zotos International with fines of $233,000 for hazards at its upstate New York plant.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday that inspectors found 44 serious violations at the Zotos plant in Geneva, N.Y.  They included unguarded moving machine parts, electrical hazards, a blocked exit door, unqualified employees working on live electrical parts, failing to develop safety plans and inadequate training of employees.

The agency said workers were overexposed to certain chemicals and there were inadequate preparations to prevent the release of a flammable liquid used in the production process.  The company has 15 days to fix the problems or contest the findings.  A Zotos spokesman said many problems were fixed immediately and the company is working with OSHA to resolve the others.

Story via Bloomberg Businessweek

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WI: OSHA cites Beef Plant for Electrocution

Norwalk, WI: A beef-processing plant in western Wisconsin has been cited with 11 safety violations after a maintenance worker died by electrocution in December.  The citations against VPP Group LLC carry proposed penalties of $186,000.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the worker was electrocuted at the company’s Norwalk plant.  OSHA says workers had been sent to fix a leaking water pipe near equipment that hadn’t been properly weatherproofed. The safety agency says the setup allowed moisture to accumulate in electrical boxes and fixtures.

A worker who answered the phone at VPP declined to comment.  VPP has 15 business days to comply with the fines, contest the citations or request a conference with the agency.

Story via Bloomberg Businessweek 

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OH: Arc Flash Injuries

Cuyahoga Falls, OH: Two employees of the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System were injured at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in an arc flash incident that occurred on State Road near the Alside Inc. property.  A full investigation into the incident – which happened while the employees were working on customer-premises equipment at the customer’s request – has been initiated by city officials.  Service Department Director Valerie Wax Carr said early Tuesday afternoon that both workers were “doing okay and their families have been contacted. They’re conscious and talking.”

Police and fire scanner traffic indicated the two employees were transported to the burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital. City officials said that out of concern for the privacy of employees and their families, the city will not release the names or conditions of the employees without their permission.  We ask for the understanding and patience of the public and members of the media in this matter,” a city press release stated.

The electric department is one of nine city departments employing more than 300 public service workers that Wax Carr oversees.  The city has been providing residents and businesses with the benefits of public power through the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System since 1888, according to the department’s website.

Story via Cuyahoga Falls Patch

TX: 3-Alarm Electrical Fire at Supply Pro warehouse

Houston, TX: A firefighter was treated for apparent heat exhaustion from a three-alarm warehouse blaze in east Houston.

The electrical fire broke out about 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Supply Pro, a company that makes oil spill cleanup products in a building along Hahlo and Old Clinton Drive. All the employees were safe and accounted for, HFD officials said.

More than 100 firefighters fought the blaze. Thick clouds of black smoke could be seen for several miles in any direction.

HFD officials instituted a five-mile radius shelter in place order around the warehouse for several hours, eventually reducing it to the immediate vicinity.

“We are monitoring the air and water at this time,” said HFD Capt. Ruy Lozano.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also sent a team to the scene.

HFD arson officers are conducting an investigation of the blaze. A firefighter at the scene said it may have been started by an electrical wire falling on a bale of cotton.

Fire department officials said the warehouse contained a large quantity of polypropylene, often used in making plastic products.

Story via Firehouse.com

NH: Crane Electrocution

Newbury, NH: Fire officials say a tree service worker in Newbury, N.H., was electrocuted when a nearby crane came into contact with a high-voltage electric line.

Newbury Fire Chief Henry Thomas Jr. tells WMUR-TV the worker was standing with his hand on a wood chipper 20 feet from the crane when it touched a power line near the intersection of Route 103 and Sutton Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas said electricity traveled down the crane, through the ground and into the wood chipper.

Story via Boston.com

NZ: One Third of Fires Caused by Electrical Faults

Wellington, New Zealand: Another property fire in Invercargill at the weekend has spurred the fire service to once again plead with residents to follow fire safety precautions, including electrical fire safety.   The adjoining garage of a Dunbeath Pl house was destroyed after it was engulfed by flames early yesterday.   Fire safety officer Paul Glanville said investigations, which were continuing, showed the fire was most likely started by an electrical fault.

Saturday night drinks with friends saved the house from the flames and potentially the lives of the 12 people inside, when the fire started, he said.  No-one was hurt because the people had raced out of the house and called the fire service at 1.15am, he said.   “About one dozen people were at the house having a drink when they saw flames flying past the lounge window. It was lucky they were home and awake,” he said.

There was smoke damage to the roof in the lounge and a visible black burn hole in the wall of a room joined to the garage, which investigators were looking at.   He believed it was the ninth building fire in the city in the past month, which was worrying, he said.   He urged people to be aware of electrical faults, which caused a third of Invercargill fires.  Signs of an electric fault included scorch marks, faulty switches, dimming lights when an appliance was turned on, buzzing sounds or strange smells.

“Always do a fire safety check before bed, which includes turning off appliances at the wall,” he said. Even standby, which was how most people left televisions and stereos at night, was not safe, he said.   He advised homeowners to also turn off appliances at the wall when they left home in the morning. “The key message is to have smoke alarms that work and to test them at least once a month,” he said.

Story via The Southland Times.