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Archive for February, 2013

MA: Blizzard Damages Electrical System – Home Burns

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment
MARSHFIELD, MA: The home at the corner of Circuit and Ames avenues in Marshfield has hosted a neighborhood clambake on Labor Day weekend for more than 30 years. But that tradition is now in jeopardy because of the Blizzard of 2013.

“It’s really devastating,” neighbor Charlie Pesko said. “It was in pristine condition, a beautiful place.”

The summer home at 10 Ames Ave. near Rexhame Beach was gutted by a three-alarm electrical fire Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured.

Marshfield Fire Chief Kevin Robinson said the blaze was a result of damage to the home’s electrical service, a casualty of last week’s blizzard. Since the storm struck last Friday, firefighters in hard-hit communities have responded to a variety of emergencies, including rescues, fires, carbon monoxide scares and medical calls.

 

On Tuesday, homes on Oceanside Drive in Scituate and Avon Street in Marshfield caught fire when their power was restored. There were no injuries in either fire. In Marshfield alone, there have been five electrical fires since last Friday, Robinson said.Robinson said Wednesday’s fire started at the electric meter outside the rear side of the home, climbing quickly up the wooden frame into the attic. He said the attic and second floor were destroyed, and the home may need to be torn down.

Some Rexhame residents who had been without electricity since the weekend said their homes regained power at about the same time the fire started, about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.  “A surge could have done it,” Robinson said. “If there was damage to the electrical service, and one is energized, that could have caused the fire as well. We’re still investigating that at this point.”

Firefighters from Marshfield, Duxbury, Pembroke, Hanover, Norwell and Scituate responded to the fire, which was extinguished shortly after 4 p.m. Part of the roof collapsed, and the first floor was damaged by water from fire hoses.  Jonathan and Connie Smith, the homeowners, watched from the lawn as firefighters tore through walls to make sure the fire was out. The couple, who live in Wellesley during the winter, raised their two sons in the home, which was built in the 1880s.

Jonathan Smith said the home has been owned by his family since 1945.  “Tragic,” he said.  “The saddest,” Connie added.  Connie watched as firefighters carried pieces of salvageable furniture from the charred home into the barn next door.  “It was the furniture that came with the house in the 1800s. That’s how old it is,” she said. “It’s some beautiful old wicker. It was here when the house was first built.”

Charlie Pesko, who lives on nearby Kent Avenue, shook Jonathan’s hand, kissed Connie on the cheek and told the couple he’s available if they need any help. Pesko said the Smiths are very popular among the locals.

“They get the whole neighborhood here on Labor Day for a good ol’ New England clambake and lobsters,” Pesko said. “They do the whole thing. They mastermind the whole thing.”

Story via patriotledger.com

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BC: 18 Year Old Electrocuted

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Armstrong, BC: The workplace death of an Armstrong teenager in 2011 has officially been declared accidental.  Provincial coroner Andrew Cave reported that Cullen James Rowan, 18, died of electrocution while at work in Armstrong on Sept. 22, 2011.  Cave said Rowan had completed preparing a scissor lift and moving it to the back of the work yard where there were six high-voltage electrical power lines and a neutral conductor line running parallel with the rear fence.  “Normal practice would have been to raise the lift to its full height using the ground control panel,” said Cave in his three-page report. “For an undetermined reason, Mr. Rowan had raised the lift while on its platform (using a hand-held control).”

A witness to the incident saw Rowan on the elevated platform on the lift, and stated that “it appeared as if he was moving his right arm in a defensive manner.”  “There was a loud bang and a bright flash, and Mr. Rowan collapsed onto the platform of the lift,” said Cave.  Two other people witnessed the accident, staff was alerted and 911 was called.  Cave said an exam of the power lines showed Rowan had come into close proximity of one of the 25,000 volt distribution lines, and that a flashover (arc flash) – an electrical arc passing through the air conducting through him and the lift to ground – had occurred.   “A distance of approximately 2.5 centimetres from Mr. Rowan’s hand to the line would have been sufficient for the electricity to flashover,” said Cave.

WorkSafeBC investigated and discovered Rowan had been employed at the yard for slightly more than two months. His training was primarily given through verbal direction as each new task was encountered. “Interviews with other employees indicated that there was a general understanding of the dangers surrounding the raising of machinery near the power lines,” said Cave. The required minimum distance between any object and the power lines was three meters.  One operator positioned below the power lines told investigators that there were no visual reference points to establish how close the power lines were, making a misjudgment of distance possible.

WorkSafeBC has provided direction to the employer in regard to increasing training and awareness of hazards.

Story via vernonmorningstar.com

PA: Arc Flash Victim Recovering

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Bensalem, PA:  A man critically burned last month in an electrical explosion at a Bensalem carpet business is recovering at Temple University’s Burn Center.

Bensalem Battalion Chief Rob Sponheimer is not releasing the man’s name, but said he was burned over 60 percent of his body in the Jan. 17 fire at Adams Carpet, off Street Road near Hulmeville Road.

An employee of the carpet business was also burned, but not as severely, as he helped to put the flames out on the contractor with a fire extinguisher.

Sponheimer said the contractor was working inside a three-phase electrical panel when one of his tools came in contact with the back of the panel, causing an arc-flash.

The arc-flash ignited the contractor’s clothing and hair.

“These types of arc-flashes can reach temperatures above 5,000 degrees, have a great amount of energy associated with them and have a blinding flash and deafening noise,” Sponheimer said.

An arc-flash occurs when electrical insulation or isolation between conductors is broken or can no longer withstand the applied voltage, according to The National Fire Protection Association.

Sponheimer did not say if the carpet store employee was still hospitalized.

Story via phillyburbs.com

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