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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 790
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wa2ise Offline OP
Member
In today's paper (mar 23)(Star Ledger of Newark NJ) there was a story about a house fire in Teaneck NJ that claimed several lives. Seems to have been an electrical cause. But the reporter seems to have gotten it somewhat garbled. Seems that the fridge-freezer, and a washer and a dryer were all on the same 20A circuit, drawing 26 amps. (Though I doubt all three were on at the same time, seems the reporter just added the nameplate amp ratings together) (Still not a good idea all on the same circuit). "This overload caused the wiring in the freezer to degrade, that caused the fire". "Had the circuit breaker tripped, this fire wouldn't have happened."


House was built in the 1930's and maybe it was the old house wire was what degraded.

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 68
H
Member
Quote
This overload caused the wiring in the freezer to degrade, that caused the fire
Really? How would that be possible as the other loads do not pass through the freezer wiring. This must be one of those fire investigators that would let the AFCI manufactures off the hook? [Linked Image]


Be Fair, Be Safe
Just don't be Fairly Safe
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 14
R
Member
Lots of Federal Pacific panels in that area

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
Member
...That's a fact,..Teaneck is my neighboring town to the south,and at first I actually had to think about if we were ever in that house,as we do alot of work in Teaneck.Turns out we weren't.My sincere condolences to the family.Ron F was correct tho,.. there's a "gold mine" in Federal Pacific up this way..3 out of 5 homes have them..
Russ


.."if it ain't fixed,don't break it...call a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
N
Member
Have changed out a LOT of FPE panels here in NJ. Apparently, it was the popular brand of panel at one time, probably because it was manufactured locally (Newark).

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Forget about CSI, and every other cop show you've seen. It's a pretty rare fire that gets more than a cursory glance- and most of those looking aren't really qualified.
What may have happened is that the insulation of the branch circuit wires degraded (turned to dust) after years of being overloaded (hot). Or a receptacle failed- those things don't last forever. Or there was an unrelated problem with the appliance itself.

Take news reports with a LARGE grain of salt. Not only is your typical reporter bounced from covering society news to foreign affairs- thus knows knothing about the subject of the report- but his, and his editors- are often borderline illiterate.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 840
C
Member
I read about it in the New York Slime...I mean Times, and it said the same thing. I agree, it didn't add up. But it does sound like badly overloaded circuit and the breaker not tripping.


Most of the time, newspaper/news reports contain gross inaccuracies and errors as they relate to decribing the cause of electrical fires.

Peter


Peter
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 15
B
Member
Quote

Forget about CSI, and every other cop show you've seen. It's a pretty rare fire that gets more than a cursory glance- and most of those looking aren't really qualified.

I'll second that. Usually the FD cares about Arson or All Other. Beyond that they look for the insurance comapany to pickup the ball (and cost) to finish it out. (At least that's the way it always was with me.)

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 72
B
Member
Has anyone ever seen a 120v dryer?
Not I. I have seen a 240 washer but never a dryer. Could this really be?
Mybe the reporter is really right and they seriesd everything on a 240v circuit.
To bad people died. No smoke detectors eather?

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 790
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wa2ise Offline OP
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Quote
Has anyone ever seen a 120v dryer?

Probably a gas dryer. Still needs electricity to power the motor that rotates the drum.

Paper said that there were at least one functioning smoke detector, but maybe it wasn't in a good location. Also one of the bedrooms had a windows blocked by an air conditoner and another by a bed, making egress difficult.

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