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Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 136
Signs Point to Metal Plate in East Village Electrocution

Published: January 18, 2004

Consolidated Edison officials said yesterday that they had found exposed wiring and an apparent short circuit beneath a metal plate on an East Village street where the authorities said a woman was electrocuted on Friday while walking her dogs.

A repair crew removed the plate on 11th Street near First Avenue on Friday evening, shortly after the death of the woman, Jodie S. Lane, 30, and discovered that insulation had been worn away from a wire, said a Con Ed spokesman, Chris Olert.


"We don't know why the insulation came off," said Mr. Olert, who added that Con Ed workers repaired the wiring and that the utility was conducting an investigation into the accident, which he called a "tragic and highly unusual incident."

Although the authorities said that it appeared Ms. Lane had been electrocuted, the medical examiner's office said that a formal determination of what caused her death could not be made until after an autopsy was conducted today.

Electrical currents carried though plates on streets and sidewalks by short circuits have proved troublesome before.

In 1999, a carriage horse was electrocuted when it stepped on a Con Ed service box cover on East 59th Street near Park Avenue.

In that case, the utility found, an electrical current traveled through the cover because of a short circuit caused by the erosion of insulation protecting power lines. Such insulation can be worn away by wet weather and rock salt used to clear streets of snow and ice.

Mr. Olert said that it was too early to tell whether such factors had played a role in Ms. Lane's death.

The authorities said that Ms. Lane was walking her two dogs shortly before 6:30 p.m. Friday when the animals stepped on a concrete and metal plate, 2 feet by 4 feet, that was flush with the asphalt on 11th Street.

Witnesses said that one of the dogs touched the plate and reacted violently, howling and even biting the nose of Ms. Lane's other dog.

Apparently confused about what was happening, Ms. Lane called on passers-by to help.

"I heard, like, dogs screaming," said Ming Chan, 30, a copywriter who was walking on 11th Street. "She was crying, panicked and was very concerned about her other dog because he was lying on the pavement spitting blood."

For several minutes, Ms. Chan said, Ms. Lane struggled with the dogs.

"From her reaction, I could tell she didn't know what was going on," Ms. Chan said.

At one point, Ms. Chan said, Ms. Lane bent over to check on the dogs. "She just stepped in the snow, and I think one dog got electrocuted again, and it went through her," Ms. Chan said. "When I turned my head, she was down and didn't move."

Witnesses said that Ms. Lane lay on the plate in a heap, her limbs tangled.

"She didn't move," Ms. Chan said. "She didn't struggle."

About 20 people were drawn by Ms. Lane's cries for help, and they did what they could.

"A few people came to assist her, and they were getting shocked," said Eric Miranda, 35, a songwriter.

Moments earlier, Mr. Miranda said, he and Ms. Lane had commiserated about their misbehaving dogs.

"I may have been the last one to talk with her," he said.

When the police arrived, they instructed others to stay away from the plate until paramedics arrived. Ms. Lane was pronounced dead on arrival at Beth Israel Medical Center.

The dogs suffered minor injuries. One dog, who according to veterinary records is a mixed breed named Reilly, suffered burns and lost toenails on her back paws, and the other dog, Meeko, was treated for a bite to the nose, said Dr. Sara Newman, who attended to the animals after they were brought by a witness to St. Marks Veterinary Hospital, not far from the scene.

"They were mostly shaken up," Dr. Newman said. "They just saw what happened to their mother and were terrified."

Ms. Lane, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Columbia University Teachers College, was remembered yesterday as an exceptional student who liked music and dancing and whose world centered on her longtime boyfriend, Alex Wilbourne, and their dogs.

"Jodie was passionate, dedicated and devoted to helping children with special needs," her family said in a statement last night.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Lane was one of eight students in her doctoral class and had been selected from a field of more than 200 applicants, said Dr. Barry A. Farber, her faculty mentor.

"She was the best of the best, as they say," Dr. Farber said.

Dr. Farber said that Ms. Lane was scheduled to finish an internship in June at University Hospital in Newark and begin work on her doctoral thesis, which was to explore obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Ms. Lane had already begun working on a children's book about coping with the disorder.

"She was pretty special — talented clinically and really well liked," Dr. Farber said. "And that's not one of those generic post-mortem statements. She was truly special."

Oren Yaniv contributed reporting for this article.

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
This isn't the first time that I've heard of a death caused by this methode.
A plate measuring 2 ft x 4 ft you'd think should be bonded to something or grounded.
In that case, the utility found, an electrical current traveled through the cover because of a short circuit caused by the erosion of insulation protecting power lines. Such insulation can be worn away by wet weather and rock salt used to clear streets of snow and ice.
I was always under the impression that a short circuit was cleared in a matter of seconds.
Anything else is negligent, especially where exposed live parts are concerned.
One more un-necessary death!.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Apparently, a lack of rubber tape contributed to this horrific incident:

Con Ed Blames Faulty Work in Electrocution

Published: January 30, 2004

Consolidated Edison said yesterday that improperly insulated wire beneath a metal plate had contributed to the death of an East Village woman who was electrocuted while walking her dogs this month.

The company also said that as a result of the accident, it would finish checking within a month its 250,000 manholes and service boxes for stray voltage, and that it would begin conducting yearly inspections of all underground structures to check for similar problems. The utility, which released a report on its accident investigation yesterday, said an exposed wire underneath the plate was supposed to have had two layers of insulation on it, but when workers performed routine maintenance on it last year, they put on only one layer.

The report details what happened on Jan. 16, when the woman, Jodie S. Lane, was killed after she stepped on an electrified metal plate in front of 342 East 11th Street. According to the report, a repair crew arrived to find 57 volts of electricity running up the side of the underground service box to the plate above.

When the workers went into the opening beneath the plate, they discovered an insulated wire with a partly exposed end inside the service box. The utility's inquiry concluded that the wire had been wrapped in electrical tape in January 2003 during a routine service call.

Since then, the tape had degraded to the point that the copper wire was partly exposed and was making contact with the frame of the service box, thus electrifying the metal plate above.

"In a normal insulation job, you are supposed to do a combination of rubber and plastic taping," Michael S. Clendenin, a Con Ed spokesman said. "In this case, only plastic tape had been used." Corrosion would have been far less likely in such a short time had there been two layers of tape, he said.

The Public Service Commission, the state regulatory body that oversees Con Ed, is also conducting an investigation.

"What the company announced this afternoon will be considered," said Edward S. Collins, spokesman for the commission. "But our office still has its own questions it wants answered, and we will be doing a thorough investigation to get those answers." Mr. Collins said the commission needed to review the accident and the National Electric Safety Code to ensure that Con Ed had been in full compliance. He would not say when that report would be released.

In a written statement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg commended Con Ed for its "straightforward and responsible assessment of the tragic events." He also said the city's Department of Transportation would "continue to work with Con Edison so that they can provide electricity safely to all New Yorkers." He again conveyed his condolences to Ms. Lane's family and friends.

Ms. Lane, 30, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Columbia University Teachers College, was killed while walking her two dogs on a slush-covered street near her home. Her father, Roger M. Lane, reached by phone at his home in Austin, Texas, said the family had no comment about Con Ed's investigation and would not say whether they had hired a lawyer.

Professor Barry A. Farber, Ms. Lane's friend and faculty mentor at Columbia University Teachers College, said: "It makes me feel better that the company is finally admitting culpability. At the same time, it makes Jodie's death all the more tragic since it was avoidable."

Absent in Con Ed's report was any mention of the effect that corrosion from rock salt might have had on the wire. Soon after the accident, Con Ed said the city's use of rock salt to melt snow and ice regularly contributed to the corrosion of underground electrical wires. "We were not sure at the time, nor are we now, what caused those wires to erode," Mr. Clendenin said. "Salt or any other factor could have been involved. We just don't know."

Manny Hellen, president of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America, said he remained skeptical of the investigation's findings. "They still have a hit-and-run approach," he said. "The real problem here is that the company is using outside contractors with no experience to do dangerous work, and they are rushing workers to finish jobs rather than do it right."

Mr. Clendenin said Con Ed had records of who did the taping work on the wire, but he would not comment on disciplinary actions or other personnel matters.

[This message has been edited by ThinkGood (edited 02-01-2004).]

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Imagine having that on your conscience?.
That the fact that you only used one layer of tape on a wire and it failed and killed someone. [Linked Image]
Food for thought, eh?!.
Just goes to show though, if you do the job properly in the first place, you need'nt have things like this on your conscience. [Linked Image]

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
And ..... Lots of city contracts are awarded to those who pull up in the morning at the job-site with a truck full of those who are UNQUALIFIED PERSONS!

This is a serious problem in many cities around the USA!

Later in the day they all get back into the truck to be transported to some location where they get ready for the next terrible installation, and that may be in your town soon!

Don't make waves the Officials say!

I say: "Don't forget to wear the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) before walking the dog or crossing the street!"

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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