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Electrical Accident Kills 4 in Virginia

March 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Fort A.P. Hill, VA – Four volunteer Boy Scout leaders from Alaska were accidentally electrocuted yesterday afternoon as they set up camp on the first day of the  scouts’ national jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., the organization said.

The four victims, all adult men, were killed between 4:30 and 5 p.m. at their camp at the military base, Gregg Shields, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts said.

Two other scout leaders and a contract worker were injured and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, Mr. Shields said. Their conditions were not released by the authorities last night.

Neither Mr. Shields nor Brian Wolfe, a spokesman for Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, the electric company that provides powers for the base, offered any details of how the accident happened.

Bill Haines, the executive of the Western Alaska Council of the Boy Scouts, which covers about 80 percent of the state’s scouts, said  the men had been among eight leaders selected from a field of 20 to accompany about 80 scouts from Troop 711, in the Anchorage area.

“These are just the cream of the crop,” Mr. Haines said from his home in Eagle River, Alaska. “These people sacrifice time and energy because they care about kids. You couldn’t ask for a better group of people. It’s just a tragic loss.”

Two of the men had accompanied their sons on the trip, Mr. Haines said. One man who died had two sons at the jamboree, a quadrennial event. The other two men were lifetime scouters, he said, whose sons had been in the organization when they were younger.

Mr. Haines said that none of the names of the dead would be released until all the families were notified.

“The son of one man works here in town and I had to tell his son because his mother’s out of town,” Mr. Haines said. “That was very difficult. Any time you lose a father it’s very tough, and with scouting your family tends to be tighter to the father because you do a lot with him.”

The scouts arrived yesterday at Fort A.P. Hill, an active military base where temperatures reached about 100 degrees for the jamboree, a week of outdoor recreation including scuba diving, archery and all-terrain biking. Busloads of scouts and troop leaders scampered around from morning to evening yesterday, receiving their camp assignments, pitching tents and setting up eating areas.

The accident caused a power loss that left some areas of the camp without electricity for  30 minutes.

As counselors were brought in to speak with the campers, a spokeswoman for the Scouts, Renee Fairer, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

After news of the accident broke, families called the jamboree in a panic to make sure their children were unharmed, Ms. Fairer said. She said she was not aware of any parents’ withdrawing their sons from the jamboree.    President Bush was scheduled to address the scouts there tomorrow evening, Mr. Shields said.

Mr. Haines, who knew all four of the electrocuted men, said that as of last night, there were no plans to bring the Alaskan scouts home. The troop  was moved to another part of the base. The three sons of the dead men would return to Alaska, he said.

The troop left Anchorage last week and began a tour of the Washington area before going to Fort A.P. Hill, which lies about 90 minutes south of the capitol.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get down to the lower 48,” Mr. Haines said.

To raise money to cover the $2,500 cost of the trip, the scouts sold popcorn, held car washes and did extra chores at their homes. The leaders each paid $1,250 out of their own pockets, Mr. Haines said.

One of the men killed had recently moved from Alaska to Ohio, and decided only last week, on a visit to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the Western Alaska Council, to attend the jamboree when space opened up.

“He had been in scouting for 25 years,” Mr. Haines said. “This was his first jamboree.”

Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia issued a statement  saying the accident would be investigated thoroughly.

In Alaska, over the sound of his doorbell chiming as he fielded calls about the accident, Mr. Haines said the jamboree would not be the same for his troops for some years.

“Everybody knows them,” he said of the dead men. “It’s going to be a huge loss for this council. They were some of the best leaders that we had.”

Story via NYtimes.com

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2 Electrical Contractors Suffer Burns in Electrical Accident in UK

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Glenrothes, Scotland – Two men are recovering in hospital after being injured in an explosion at a Fife engineering factory on Monday.  The men, both electricians, were working at Raytheon Systems in Glenrothes when the incident happened shortly after noon.

It is understood the 48-year-old and 22-year-old were both contractors working for local firm CF Electrical Services.

The 500 employees at the factory — which supplies to the defence, automotive and space industries — were evacuated after the accident and the two casualties were treated for serious burns to their faces and hands.

They were then rushed under police escort to Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, where they were monitored in the intensive care unit.

It was stressed that, while serious, their injuries are not thought to be life threatening and their condition was described as comfortable.

The two men, who have not been named, had been carrying out maintenance on one of the factory’s distribution boards and it is thought something fell and caused the explosion.

Fife Fire and Rescue Service sent two appliances to the building on Queensway Industrial Estate, and firefighters applied a cooling treatment to the men’s faces until an ambulance arrived.

As a precaution, firefighters then entered the factory, which makes components used in missiles and tanks used by NATO forces.

Paramedics then spent several minutes applying further emergency treatment before requesting a police escort to transfer the casualties to hospital.

It is believed that as well as burns, the men may have suffered some damage to their airways in the explosion.

Nick West, communications director with Raytheon UK, said: ”Two contractors were injured earlier today, whilst maintaining electrical equipment on our site. Clearly it would be inappropriate to make any comment until the incident has been fully investigated.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said the organisation was aware of the incident.

”We are making initial enquiries and an inspector is on site this afternoon,” she said.

Story via TheCourrier.Co.UK

US Military Electrocution in Shower Accident Part of Task Force

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, stepped into a shower in Iraq in January 2008 — and it was the last action he would take on this earth.

Sergeant Maseth was electrocuted in that shower — one of many service members killed or injured by allegedly faulty electrical work in thousands of structures maintained in Iraq by a contractor. The contractor denies wrongdoing, and legal action on the matter continues.

Former Army Maj. John Cockerham now sits in a federal penitentiary — his home for about the next 16 years — having been found guilty of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from unscrupulous contractors while deployed to Southwest Asia. Master Sgt. Mark Carnes will learn of his punishment in March following a guilty plea to similar, but unrelated, charges.

While faulty wiring and deadly living conditions may seem worlds apart from a relatively white-collar crime like accepting payoffs, the common denominator linking such cases is contract fraud.

A series of such high-profile cases in recent years led to the establishment of the International Contract Corruption Task Force, which seeks to educate and inform government employees about contract fraud and violations. The ICCTF fully investigates suspected wrongdoing for criminal prosecution and is made up of federal agents representing nine different agencies, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, stationed throughout SWA, plus a supporting organization in the United States.

Story via AF.mil

NOTE:  One problem encountered in the Middle East with US military facilities constructed or managed by local workers is that they have not been properly trained on electrical codes to prevent these types of accidents from happening.  National Electrical Code International training is available for construction companies throughout the world that work on US installations, but the training isn’t always getting done.