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#172220 - 12/16/07 08:45 AM Holiday Lights Electrocution
Zapped Offline
Member
Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 482
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
A few odd things in this story:

http://cbs13.com/local/man.electrocuted.christmas.2.611847.html

12,000 KILOvolts? Isn't that 12 million volts?

Who hangs x-mas lights 60' up on power lines?

And why don't things like this happen more often, and every year? Or do they , and we just don't hear about them as much as we should? I think running PSAs about the Do's and Dont's of DIY holiday light installations on local TV stations should be mandatory.

Your thoughts?
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#172226 - 12/16/07 09:28 AM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: Zapped]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I suppose it could have happened ... though I'm pretty sure the press got the voltage wrong laugh

If the tree was that close to the lines, it had probably damaged the insulation. Add one hand, untangling a string of lights .. and .. zap.

Had he shown a similar determination to keep the tree pruned ....
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#172228 - 12/16/07 09:43 AM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: Zapped]
sparkyinak Offline
Member
Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1307
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By Zapped
A few odd things in this story:

12,000 KILOvolts? Isn't that 12 million volts?

I presume 12,000 or 12 kilovolts. Media these days are not alway sure what they are reporting. It is more important to get it on the street for ratings sake then getting it right

Quote:
Who hangs x-mas lights 60' up on power lines?

In many communities, the local POCO hang the community lights because they tap off the local grid for power, they have the equipment for the job, they are or should be qualified to be that close to overhead lines, and it gets them away from the box of doughnuts at the shop. smile

Quote:
And why don't things like this happen more often, and every year? Or do they , and we just don't hear about them as much as we should? I think running PSAs about the Do's and Dont's of DIY holiday light installations on local TV stations should be mandatory.

I did not find any stats but accidents do happen. I personnally have not heard of linemen getting zapped while hanging lights. I am presumming that it was a lineman although the report did not mentioned it. One thing about overhead lines, most people, even the the ones with an IQ of a box of crayons stay away them. I would not be shocked (no pundt intended) if it wasn't a lineman though. Lineman have a litte more sense. smile
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#172237 - 12/16/07 11:36 AM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: sparkyinak]
SolarPowered Offline
Member
Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 625
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
I'm going to church in about 1/2 an hour. My congregation (ward) covers the East Palo Alto area. A lot of young couples in our ward work as apartment managers so that the wife can stay at home with the kids, and still bring in some income. (Edit: A different story than the one linked said that the decedant was working for an apartment management company.) I'm worried that I may know this person...


Edited by SolarPowered (12/16/07 11:44 AM)
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#172239 - 12/16/07 12:30 PM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: SolarPowered]
Lostazhell Offline
Member
Registered: 02/21/04
Posts: 1428
Loc: Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
From the SF Chronicle....

(12-15) 22:26 PST EAST PALO ALTO -- An effort to add holiday cheer to an East Palo Alto neighborhood ended in a gruesome tragedy Saturday when a man stringing lights in a tree at an apartment complex struck a high voltage power line, sending 12,000 kilovolts of electricity through his body and killing him instantly, fire officials said.

Hundreds of neighbors looked on for more than an hour at a grisly scene as the body of the 23-year-old man was suspended about 60 feet above ground because the electricity that had passed through him had affixed him to the tree, according to Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

"Electricity always tries to find a ground and it went through his arm and leg and essentially welded him to the tree," Schapelhouman said. "Our heart goes out to this young man and his family; he was trying to improve things a little bit for Christmas and he made a small miscalculation and it cost him his life."

The man, whose name was not being released until the coroner's office could contact his family, was an employee of Page Mill Properties, which owns apartment buildings in the area, Schapelhouman said.

The man had been using a ladder to ascend a tall redwood tree in front of 2012 Euclid Street at around noon and appeared to have moved from the ladder to the tree itself to try to reach taller branches. He apparently hit the power line with a string of lights he was trying to toss over a branch.

Schapelhouman said police received a call from a neighbor at about 12:20 p.m. and that firefighters soon arrived to find the man attached to the tree with smoke coming from his feet. Neighbors and passers-by watched aghast, but firefighters could do nothing until PG&E crews arrived at 12:54 p.m. to turn off the power lines that supply electricity for thousands of homes and businesses.

Once the power was shut off, firefighters brought the man's body down from the tree, Schapelhouman said.

Homes, businesses and major intersections in the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto were without power from about 1 to 4 p.m., said PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi.


Along with Schapelhouman and his misconception of "electricity looking for ground", I'm certain this man didn't comprehend the power of the lines he was working above, or the EMF that could ( and actually did) electrify the light string he was working with well beyond what protection the strings insulation could provide (typically marked 300V)

Randy



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#172241 - 12/16/07 12:56 PM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: Lostazhell]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Randy, you humble me ...

I had completely failed to consider that power may have been induced into the coil of wire he was carrying. I mean, we all joke about that mythical farmer, who got 'free' electricity by burying a coil of wire under the power lines ... but how often do we apply that thought to the coil we're holding?
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#172243 - 12/16/07 04:13 PM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: renosteinke]
SolarPowered Offline
Member
Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 625
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
I'm back. I appears that it wasn't someone that I know. Still, this really sucks for the family of whomever is was.
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#172283 - 12/17/07 10:32 AM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: SolarPowered]
RODALCO Offline
Member
Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 854
Loc: Titirangi, Akld, New Zealand
That is just a normal 12 kV line.

Typical of media having the quantities wrong.

Highest HT voltage in the world is in Russia, on the line from Irkutsk to Moskou which has 1,050 kV or 1,050,000 Volts.

My $0.02 worth.
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#172344 - 12/18/07 06:18 AM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: RODALCO]
ghost307 Offline
Member
Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 899
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
The media is mostly populated by folks who are uneducated with regards to the details or technical aspects of what they are reporting on.
We had an incident at O'Hare when 3 electricians were working on some low voltage drawout switchgear (we all know that in switchgear that means under 600V).
The project was designated the "low voltage switchgear replacement project"; but the reporter thought that 480V shouldn't be called low voltage. So the story in the paper that evening told people about the electrical explosion at the airport as part of the "voltage switchgear replacement program".
Reporters are a different breed; they report what they think they want you to know in a way that they think you should hear it. If you want accurate information; go right to the source, not to the news.
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#172380 - 12/18/07 03:35 PM Re: Holiday Lights Electrocution [Re: ghost307]
pauluk Offline
Member
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
Quote:
12,000 KILOvolts?


They got it right in the commentary in the video clip.

Over here HV lines tend to be far enough away from most areas where anybody would be likely to string up lights.

Not that I'd want to tangle with 415 or 480 volts either.
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