Posts Tagged ‘CA’

CA: Arc Flash at Vandenberg Air Force Base

March 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Lompoc, CA: Two United Launch Alliance personnel working at Vandenberg Air Force Base were rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Saturday morning with serious injuries caused by an arc flash. One was flown by helicopter, and the other was taken by ambulance. The incident occurred at Space Launch Complex-6 on the south end of the base.

The base hasn’t released any more information on the incident, and its Public Affairs and Base Operator phone lines weren’t accepting calls or messages Saturday afternoon.

An arc flash occurs when an electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another or to ground. According to the National Safety Council, the most common cause of arc flash accidents is human error, including distraction, dropping a tool or using an uninsulated tool, and the accumulation of dust in a work area. The most common injuries from arc flash incidents are second- and third-degree burns.

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CA: Fisherman Shocked, Avoids Electrocution

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Half Moon Bay, CA: Is Barry Day the luckiest or unluckiest man alive?

Day, a 50-year-old Pillar Point Harbor fisherman originally from New Zealand, has had a lifetime’s worth of tight scrapes, unforeseen accidents and sudden tragedies over the last year. On three occasions in 2012, he nearly lost his life. Those close calls cost him a fishing boat, an assortment of injuries and a small fortune in medical bills.

But through a combination of luck and pluck, Day has always been able to bounce back with gusto. Doctors and friends at the harbor now dub the happy-go-lucky fisherman, the “miracle man” after he barely escaped death once again last month.

In his latest brush, Day was nearly electrocuted just one day before Thanksgiving when a hookup fed a current through a puddle of water in his boat docked at Pillar Point Harbor. At the time, he was using an electric pump to replenish the water in his crab tanks.

Penny Webb, co-owner of the boat “Cricket,” was finishing up the crab sales for the day, when she heard Day yell out in pain across the dock. Her husband, Bill, spotted Day falling forward onto the deck of his boat and ran over to help.

“It was a heart attack, that’s what I was thinking,” Webb said. “He was laying over a motor … and I grabbed the motor — which was stupid — and I felt a tingle in my hand.”

Webb realized Day was being shocked by electricity, and he might have suffered the same jolt if he wasn’t wearing rubber boots that day. In contrast, Day was reportedly wearing leather shoes and his clothes were drenched in saltwater, making his body an excellent conductor.

Webb and other fishermen arriving to help began yanking out every power cord they could find around the boat while Penny called 911. Webb tried to shield Day’s body from the water overflowing from the boat’s crab tank. Around then, he noticed that Day’s body was going limp.

“He died in my arms. There was no pulse, no breathing,” Webb described.

Deputy Harbormaster Jacob Walding began performing CPR on the docks. Firefighters arriving on the scene used a defibrillator to resuscitate him. Paramedics reportedly revived him a second time while the ambulance was en route to the hospital.

At Seton Medical Center in Daly City, doctors examining Day were worried that the electrical shock could cause permanent brain damage. They gave him powerful sedatives and lowered his temperature to put his body in an induced coma.

Therese Smith, Day’s partner, recalled he was blue and lifeless lying in the intensive care ward. Medical staff warned her that his outlook was not good.

“The physician said he would be surprised if there was higher function in his brain when he came out of the coma,” she said. “The big question was if he could breathe on his own.”

Day was kept comatose for about two days, before doctors gradually reduced the sedatives to see what brain functions came back. They observed some promising signs. His pupils could follow the beam of a flashlight. About 12 hours later, Day began breathing on his own, overpowering the ventilator. By the end of the third day, he was conscious, although still heavily drugged. To the amazement of hospital staff, he had a full recovery.

“He’s nuts,” Smith summarized. “It was another situation where Barry’s army of guardian angels must be getting tired.”

Day was released from the hospital on Nov. 27. One day later, he was back at Pillar Point Harbor returning to work on his crab pots and ready to board his boat again without apprehension.

He’s had a big appetite. Taking a lunch break at Ketch Joanne’s, he scarfed down a steak sandwich, chowder and salad along with several cups of coffee. Next door at the Harbor Bar, the joke was the new drink was Barry on the Rocks with a shot of juice. Every five minutes, a friend or fisherman would drop in, shake Day’s hand, and crack a joke.

“Where’s your afro? How many lives do you have, bro?” one fisherman joked.

For many people who knew him, almost nothing about Day had changed — his sense of humor and energy were the same. He had no signs of injury except for a small gash on his forehead from when he hit the deck in the accident. Between bites of his sandwich, he insisted nothing had changed.

“What would you suggest that I do different? I haven’t had this big spiritual revelation,” he said. “My blessing is the people around here. I should be putting on lipstick and kissing everyone who helped me.”

He can’t remember anything about what he was doing before the electrical accident, but he believes the water pump he was using to cycle water into his crab tank may have shorted. Walking out to the parking lot, he picked up the culprit pump out of the back of his truck, and he pledged he was going to test it before risking another use.

It was not Day’s first close encounter. In October, he was heading home in his boat, the “Fjord Queen,” after a two-day solo fishing trip when he accidentally shipwrecked on the rocks near Pillar Point. Smith and Day were still working to clean up the boat wreckage when the electrical accident occurred.

Earlier this year, Day had another accident on his former boat, the “High Seas.” An old lead battery in the boat’s engine room exploded when he tried to pour more water into it. Pieces of the casing were flung at his face, cutting an artery in his forehead. The accident could have been fatal, but Day was able to get to a hospital in time.

In fact, this latest scrape wasn’t even the first time he had been in a coma. In his younger days, he once was out for days after a bad motorbike crash.

“He’s the luckiest person on Earth, no question,” Smith said.

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Tree Trimmer Suffers Electrical Burns in CA

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Santa Barbara, CA – A tree-trimmer suffered severe electrical burns on Wednesday after his rope wrapped around a power line.

Santa Barbara Fire Department spokesman Ryan DiGuilio said the man had thrown the rope over a tree limb he had been preparing to work on. The rope had some metal in it and when it went around an electrical line, it carried the current back up through the man’s harness, giving him severe electrical burns.

At 1:23 p.m. firefighters and paramedics received a report of a man caught in a tree on the first block of East Valerio Street.

When firefighters arrived, they found the man 30 feet in the air, hanging upside down. The man’s harness had slipped and only held him by the ankles.

Firefighters used a 35 foot ladder and a series of ropes and harness to get the man down. DiGuilio was still conscious on the way to Cottage Hospital.

Story via The Daily

Electrical Malfunction Burns Down Apartment Building in CA

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Berkeley, CA – A devastating fire that tore through a Berkeley apartment building began with an electrical malfunction in the basement, fire investigators said Wednesday.

The fire was apparently an accident, starting in the elevator machinery and quickly engulfing the historic four-story apartment building just south of the UC Berkeley campus, according to the Berkeley Fire Department’s initial findings.

The Nov. 18 blaze, Berkeley’s largest since the 1991 hills firestorm, destroyed 39 apartments and two popular restaurants at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street. Nearly all the 70 displaced residents were students or recent graduates.

The building owner could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but tenants said the building had a history of electrical problems, one of which caused a fire on the roof in February and another that trapped residents in an elevator. The owner of the building lost a small claims case in 2006 in which a tenant claimed his laptop and bedding were destroyed after an electrical short-circuit.

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Transformer Explosion Leads to 3 Deaths in CA

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

UPDATED INFORMATION  – A 17-year-old girl witnessed part of the electrocution of three family members, killed Friday morning by a fallen power line in their San Bernardino backyard, a fire captain said.

The girl told investigators that her stepfather, Steven Vego, 44, went to the backyard to inspect some small fires caused by the downed line and fanned by high winds, while her mother, Sharon Vego, 43, went to the frontyard to try to put out a possible fire there, officials said.

Investigators said they believe that Sharon Vego then heard a loud explosion from behind the house and hurried to the backyard, where she found her husband and son. They believe she was electrocuted as she tried to help them.

Firefighters found Sharon Vego on top of her son, Jonathan Cole, 21, and her husband lying nearby. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters had to wait about 15 minutes for Southern California Edison crews to arrive and cut power to the fallen line before they could reach the victims, said San Bernardino city Fire Dept. Capt. Mike Bilheimer.

The 17-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother were in the house, and the girl, who saw part of the accident, called 911 about 5:46 a.m., Bilheimer said.

The Fire Department received several calls early Friday morning from residents in the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue reporting downed power lines, fires and power outages.

San Bernardino Police Lt. Jarrod Burguan said winds were gusting up to 40 mph in the area Thursday night, and investigators strongly believe that the winds caused the fallen line.

Southern California Edison was leading the investigation. About 200 homes in the neighborhood were still without power Friday morning

San Bernadino, CA – A transformer explosion during high winds preceded this morning’s electrocution of three people in the backyard of their San Bernardino home.

“They heard the explosion, and they went out to look,” said Battalion Chief Paul Drasil. “There was a small fire in the front yard and a small fire in the backyard.”

Fire crews were summoned at 5:47 a.m. to the beige single-story stucco home along the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue in the Northpark section of San Bernardino. First responders were told to expect a possible electrocution with power lines down.

A family of five lives in the home, Drasil said. Two were unharmed.

The explosion knocked out power to 2,700 customers, according to initial reports.

There was also damage at a house two doors away.

“One (power) line that broke fell into the pool,” said resident Janet Vilchis. “It made a big old explosion, and it ruptured one of the water lines.

“Water was coming from underneath the house.”

Names of the dead have not been released. San Bernardino police Sgt. John Diaz said the coroner has been notified.

Story via Richard Brooks

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Girl Electrocuted After Stepping On Power Line

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Oakhurst, CA – The Madera County Sheriff’s Department identified the 14-year-old Oakhurst girl who died on New Year’s Eve after stepping on a live power line. 

Sarah Lewis was killed after she crashed her father’s truck on Leach Road and stepped on a live downed power line. 

The CHP says she was speeding on wet pavement when she lost control and hit a power pole. 

Sarah’s friend who was along for the tragic joy-ride was not injured.

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CA Shocked Killed Trying to Steal Electrical Wire

December 30, 2010 2 comments

PERRIS, CA – A Perris man was electrocuted [blogger’s note:  the media has misused the word “electrocution” here as this refers to someone who has died from electric shock.  The appropriate word to be used her is “shocked”] during an attempt to steal electrical box wires from a vacant warehouse in the area, authorities said Friday.

Jose Vargas, 30, was found with severe electrical burns on his body when deputies from the Perris station arrived Tuesday night at the 24100 block of Orange Avenue to assist fire officials with a call requiring medical assistance, Sgt. Scott Forbes said.

Forbes said a preliminary investigation shows that Vargas was in the process of stealing the wire from an electrical box when he was electrocuted.

The suspect was airlifted to a local hospital and is being treated for his injuries, Forbes said.

The Perris Burglary Suppression Team is investigating the incident.

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CA Boy Causes Electrical Arc at Ice Rink

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Temecula, CA – The outdoor ice-skating rink in Old Town Temecula is safe following Sunday’s incident in which electricity arced from a nearby power supply source, the rink’s manager said this morning.

No one was reported hurt in the incident, which forced the 50-by-70-foot rink’s closure for several hours.

Meagin Ramiro, who manages the rink for Colton-based Studio 33, said a young boy on a scooter accidentally came in contact with a rod sticking about 6 inches out of the ground. At the same time, the boy touched a city electrical box, causing electricity to arc, she said.

Ramiro, who was on site, said she immediately called 911. The boy was checked out and the rink evacuated as a precaution, she said.

Ramiro said the rod, which might have been driven through live wires, had nothing to do with the rink’s operation. The rink relies on a generator for its power, she said.

She added she offered refunds or return passes to the affected skaters. The rod has since been sawed off so it is level with the ground, she said.

“(The accident) was a complete fluke,” Ramiro said.

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