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#117735 - 07/06/04 04:52 AM Meter Fire
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
This fascinated me. I thought the group might enjoy it.

A tree branch took out a service drop, pulling the riser and the trough off the building. Aluminum siding!!!

It’s a 200A 3-Ø Commercial service with 3/0 cu. Steel raceway to the weather head, the trough is pulled off and it is visible hanging over the Gas Meter and Vent. The fire dept shut down a two lane state highway. And stood back until the utility arrived.

The Fire Dept reported that the service arced bright blue on the ground for 20-30 minutes waiting for the utility to cut the lines. The transformers were a 3-Ø pole mounted bank less than 200 feet (of wire) away.

Charlie Palmieri

You can see the burn where the pipe and riser conductors laid on the ground. There is approximately 10 feet missing (it incinerated) The Fire fighters said that steel will relax when it’s temperature reaches near 1500F. I do not know what the available short circuit current was. I had to leave for vacation the day after the incident.


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#117736 - 07/06/04 06:37 PM Re: Meter Fire
electricman2 Offline

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 234
Loc: Thomasville, NC USA
I dont even want to think about what would have happened had that gas equipment went.

#117737 - 07/06/04 06:37 PM Re: Meter Fire
ComputerWizKid Offline

Registered: 09/20/03
Posts: 116
Loc: Connecticut, USA
They are very lucky that when it fell it did not take out that gas meter. or they would have had a bigger fire, Maybe even the whole house
Theres always enough room in the junction box.You just need a bigger hammer

#117738 - 07/06/04 07:24 PM Re: Meter Fire
Bjarney Offline

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Speculation, of course, but service riser turned to lawn fertilizer may have been from a primary-to-secondary fault in the transformer.

Peeling of the raceway from the building probably saved a “structure
fully involved” report.

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 07-06-2004).]

#117739 - 07/06/04 07:43 PM Re: Meter Fire
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
Yikes what a mess. By the way, Is this the same Charlie Palmieri that is an excellent code instructor here in Mass?

#117740 - 07/06/04 07:55 PM Re: Meter Fire
Lostazhell Offline

Registered: 02/21/04
Posts: 1248
Loc: Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
Curious about something here... Was the gas service bonded to the EGC? (Or formerly when the panel was actually in place?) This looks like a house, with a 3 phase service? Something you don't see here everyday... People that live here have someone watching over them!


#117741 - 07/06/04 09:31 PM Re: Meter Fire
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
service riser turned to lawn fertilizer may have been from a primary-to-secondary fault in the transformer.

I figure first short in riser, then another short in transformer. But is it good for the lawn?

(Sorry, I couldn't resist, I'm sure this scared the people there out of thier minds! They are lucky!)
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#117742 - 07/07/04 04:52 PM Re: Meter Fire
cpal Offline

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 165
Loc: Cohasset MA
The occupancy was a commercial motel. The fire department was extremely concerned that the entire area was in peril if the gas touched off. They blocked off a stat highway until the utility was cut, and maintained a considerable distance.

#117743 - 09/14/06 09:37 PM Re: Meter Fire
mxslick Offline

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 785
Loc: Atomic City, ID USA
Bumping this up..facinating example of utility fault current damage!
Stupid should be painful.

#117744 - 09/14/06 10:59 PM Re: Meter Fire
napervillesoundtech Offline

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 144
Loc: Naperville, IL, USA
Show this to anyone who douts the power of electricity. Imagine being on the other side of the wall. It also reinforces the point about having proper distance between utilities. This could have been soo much worse if that gas meter was in a worser spot.

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