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#217602 - 09/13/16 08:39 AM Just Another Electrical Fire ....
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5299
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Yesterday we had a bit of a tragedy in nearby Memphis. I thought I'd share a few quotes from the media coverage:

"A house fire that killed six children and three adults in Memphis was caused by an electrical malfunction in an air conditioning unit's power cord in the living room, authorities said."

"Investigators determined that the house did have a working smoke alarm."

Now, a few comments:

1) I thought that big fat ugly plug was supposed to prevent this;

2) How could a dozen folks sleep through an alarm sounding?; and,

3) There is no code change, no technology, that could have prevented this.

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#217603 - 09/13/16 03:01 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6785
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
OK, was the a/c on an extension cord?? Perhaps, a power strip?? Or, plugged into a duplex/single receptacle close enough to the unit??

As to the smoke alarm???? Interconnected?? One in each b/r??
_________________________
John

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#217604 - 09/13/16 05:56 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: HotLine1]
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5542
Gentlemen , It was known to UL 40 years ago that there is nothing on the market to prevent a glowing connections incendiary effects

1977 UL report

That , imho, stands, despite manufacturers studies>

Cut/Ham study

~S~


Edited by sparky (09/13/16 05:57 PM)

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#217605 - 09/13/16 06:54 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6785
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
~s~
My point is that 'improper use' of electrical items (extension cords, power strips, etc.) are often the cause, and are listed as "Electrical" by the FD.

I feel there should be a classification that indicates the cause is 'improper use of'. The broad classification of "Electrical" reflects poorly on our trade. I have brought this up a few times at fire scenes, as the Fire Marshal was documenting the source and the crushed 16/2 extension cord remains, or the ashes of a power strip daisy chain.
_________________________
John

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#217606 - 09/13/16 08:09 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: renosteinke]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5299
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I don't "know," but considering the six years I've spent in this area - Memphis is just over an hour away - I'm willing to make a few guesses.

For various reasons, most homes that did not have central air conditioning installed at the time they were first built do not have it today.

Homes of 1500 sq. ft. or less are often cooled by a large 220v. "window" unit, usually placed in the dining room window. Such units typically have an additional fused disconnect double-tapped into the old 60-amp meter base. From there Romex is run unsecured on the floor of the crawl space to a convenient vent, where it ends in a box mounted on the outside wall. This box feeds a 220v. receptacle in the inside face of the wall, quite close to the air conditioner.

With this in mind, I'm willing to guess that there were no extension cords or power strips involved.

I'm also willing to guess that bedroom doors and such were kept open.

I'll bet there was only one smoke detector, probably a battery unit, and that one in the living room.

I'm actually impressed with the specifics of the press report, and the details they included. I believe extension cords would have been specified had they been an issue.

10-12 people in such a small house? Reports indicated it wasn't that severe of a fire. Reports also made clear that the people were not trapped inside by, for example, window bars.

One adult had just left, to go to the store. This suggests that this is not an instance of everyone being passed out from drugs or booze.

With at least six kids inside, odds favor at least some of them being old enough / large enough to be able to open the door or wake an adult.

It just doesn't make sense. I guess that fate just will not be denied.

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#217607 - 09/14/16 07:53 AM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6785
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Reno:

OK, I see your point within the scenario you suspect.

Yes, there are causes from improper electrical work/installs, as you indicate may have been the case.

My point is that there is a 'box' that is checked often as the 'cause' being 'electrical'. No details.

Yes, nine lives were lost.

I have seen quite a few 'overcrowded' SFDs, one which had ten (10) 'boarders'!! Luck, it was 'found' and vacated, before the possibility of an issue. (There were NO working smoke detectors).
_________________________
John

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#217608 - 09/14/16 08:49 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: HotLine1]
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5542
Originally Posted By: HotLine1
~s~
My point is that 'improper use' of electrical items (extension cords, power strips, etc.) are often the cause, and are listed as "Electrical" by the FD.


Bless you for that HotOne...

Quote:
I feel there should be a classification that indicates the cause is 'improper use of'. The broad classification of "Electrical" reflects poorly on our trade. I have brought this up a few times at fire scenes, as the Fire Marshal was documenting the source and the crushed 16/2 extension cord remains, or the ashes of a power strip daisy chain.



The fire stat thing really is a long story, to be truthful anything either marketed or calculated as some risk factor against them are totally bogus.

Posters like Don (ResqCapt) have a good understanding of how this all works on a national level

Myself (as well as many many others) have anecdotals of fire chiefs looking down into a smoking cellar hole claiming it electrical in nature

Then he'd look at his token spark (yours truly) and say 'You get the job wiring it, putting it out, then wiring it again!'

This from a dude that wouldn't know an outlet from an omlet , and writes reports blaming our trade is not unusual ....

Basically that's what we get with no forensic funding

~S~

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#217609 - 09/15/16 06:57 AM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6785
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
~s~

"This from a dude that wouldn't know an outlet from an omlet"

I won't say the FMs in my town are that bad, but.....

When was the last time a 'plumbing' issue was listed as the cause? (LMAO)

Stay safe.


Edited by HotLine1 (09/15/16 07:42 AM)
_________________________
John

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#217610 - 09/15/16 07:33 PM Re: Just Another Electrical Fire .... [Re: HotLine1]
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5542
No, i can't say the FM's are all that bad either HotOne

In fact , one FM here was on with a rival dept when i was in, I really can't take anything away from him

They would be better described as having to do everything with nothing , and then be held responsible for their findings.

But can you imagine walking in on six dead kids? And further being pointed to as the roundabout culprit?

I'm defensive enough as it of our trade w/o such 'heavy load'

~S~

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