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#16813 - 11/16/02 05:17 PM electrical fires ?  
mj  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 186
meriidian, ms
in my area , when the cause of a fire can not be determined ... the fire marshall declare that it was cause by an electrical short. how about your area guys ? the marshall and i had a talk about his electrical fire reports.. and from hereon he calls me out to help him investigate alleged electrial related fires. what you you think ?

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#16814 - 11/16/02 05:24 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
having witnessed the fire chief blame our trade with nothing more than a smoking cellarhole has me convinced that the statistics collected and used to market here are bogus.

#16815 - 11/16/02 08:04 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
jes  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 103
The quality of investigations and your concern aside...unless you are covered under some kind of municipal immunity be prepared to become a party to some litigation, be it liability or subrogation, defense or prosecution. No reflection on your talent, but the fact that you are on the scene makes you a party. The fact that you are an 'expert' makes you even more so! This might be OK with you but to some it is a harrowing experience to be caught up in it. Just FYI!

#16816 - 11/16/02 08:52 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
rhagfo  Offline
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 43
Portland, OR. USA
Sparky I would NOT take it as "your trade", I as a homeowner I see way too many other homeowners who don't have a clue as to what they are doing trying to do things beyond their abilities. Just go out to Bob Vila's Bulletin Board or This Old House and read some of the Q& A's posted there.

2nd house I bought had the neatest looking side lights next to the garage door, home made units. All wood with porcelain sockets and no boxes, flying splices inside the garage to connect them to the porch light. They lasted about 1 day.

Most homeowners do electrical work just to save money and will do it as cheaply as possible, I also do it to save money, but I also work to make sure it is safe and right. I always use conduit for underground work, it is safer and if I ever have a bad wire it is a lot easer to fix.

If you want to really scare yourself just take your time getting parts at the local "Home" store some Saturday afternoon, and listen to some of the bad advice that is given out in the Electrical isle.

#16817 - 11/16/02 09:25 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
resqcapt19  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
While there are fires that were actually electrical in origin, it is very common for the cause to be listed as electrical when, in reality, the investigator has no idea of the cause. I even found one where the fire report listed the cause as electrical, but the service had been disconnected and the service drop removed. Even when the investigator does have an electrical fire, there is no real details as to the exact type of electrical fire. Was it a loose connection, short circuit, ground fault, faulty equipment? The time and mony required to determine the answers to those types of questions is almost never invested in fires with a loss of less than a a million dollars or so. Then we take this very questionable fire cause data and use it to require the installation of new safety devices!


#16818 - 11/16/02 09:33 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
spyder  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 210
I have found many fire reports are actually somewhat vague when the cause is unknown..such as the fire started in the vicinity of the lamp or in the vicinity of the transformer, etc.....but none the less alluding that is was electrical in nature. The aftermath of any fire is never pleasant no matter what the cause.

#16819 - 11/16/02 10:50 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,222
SI,New Zealand
Being a Fire-fighter and an Electrician, I do quite a bit of Fire Investigation work,
for the New Zealand Fire Service in our provincial area.
To simply call an incident,"an Electrical Fire", without total investigation, is really stupid.
A fire caused by Electricity is really only caused by bad protection device selection or by wrong cable sizes hooked to over-rated fuses.
Saving this, there are also thermal effects from installed light fittings, where thermal
insulation is installed later over the top of these.
Bear this in mind, that anything will burn given a high enough temperature, I've seen
Concrete(Cement) burn, in an exceptionally hot fire that we fought recently.
But to say that a fire marshall(whom I have the same experience as), would go the easy way out and say this, I find amazing.

Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#16820 - 11/16/02 11:08 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
mj  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 186
meriidian, ms
trumpy, you seem to be an expert in fire investigations. it is not the same here they hired the mayor's brother as fire marshall, with no fire training. no offense intented for professional fire fighters/investigators.

#16821 - 11/17/02 07:32 AM Re: electrical fires ?  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
It always seemed to me that there exists a greater percentage of electricians with some sort of FF background vs. the general populance.

I think we come to common conclusions due to this, i only wish this 'voice from the trenches' would rise to higher levels.

#16822 - 11/17/02 03:21 PM Re: electrical fires ?  
rowdyrudy  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 169
Mascoutah, IL USA
Quite a few years ago, this was in a Fire Marshall's report; " the building was not wired for electricity, we are unable to determine the cause of the fire".

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