Check and maintain those outlets.


Nasty fire in this area, last night. Appears one fatality. Woman woke around 2.30 AM to hear 'popping noise, sparks and flames from an outlet. Managed to get herself and 12 year old out, but suffered smoke inhalation. Another young adult is missing; assumed dead. No information yet whether anything was plugged into the outlet etc. Or whether anything was wired non standard etc. Indication so far seems to be that it was the outlet itself that was faulty. House virtually total loss Fire Commisioner's staff on site today to investiagte and probably find remains of the missing person. So recommend; anyone .......... if you suspect an outlet check, immediately switch off that circuit and replace.
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Man, when I was on the fire department those late night/early morning alarms were the ones I dreaded the most. That was when most folks without fire alarms were most likely to get killed in a fire. But over the whole 10 plus years I served, we never had a fire fatality.
David
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No breaker?
The back-stab outlets are the worst. I'm surprised code allows them. They will melt, wires will fall out, but still, shooting flames even with these would be unlikely.
If you dead-short zipcord on a 15 A circuit, how much flame/spark do you get? Not a lot, really.
Not saying it doesn't happen, but it sure is perplexing as to exactly *how*.
The "how", as I see it, is this: Strictly speaking, you *can* weld stuff with 15 A (ie, the breaker affords no protection), but the wire/metal gauge visavis the current density has to be just right, the arc length has to be maintained just right (or the arc blows out), etc. Not to mention that welding -- ie, maintaining a steady arc -- with 120 V/ 15 A is not so easy to begin with.
To spontaneously have all these variables in an electrical perfect storm of sorts seems unlikely. But, it does happen, apparently, I'm just curious as to how.
Back to the original point, how a plug fits into an outlet is tell-tale. A good fit is smooth, springy, tight. Lousy fits, bespeaking loss of temper/spring from arcing, feels loose, gritty, and often accompanies warmth emanating from the outlet, mostly from higher-current appliances.
If UL-grade outlets can cause fires, then these shit extension cords that you have to wrestle the plug into to get any contact at all ought to be outlawed, as well. These things are disasters waiting to happen.
At one time, in NYC, their housing law made it illegal for a tenant to use any extension cords *whatsoever*. Never enforced, but inneresting.
--
EA




> Managed to get herself and 12 year old out, but suffered smoke
> inhalation.
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Existential Angst wrote:

First, how does something on a 15 amp breaker start a fire? Actually it's very easy and surprisingly it doesn't happen more often. Inside the suspected *unit* are small wires and parts that can start a fire with less than a 1 amp draw. Luckily they usually burn out as fast as they burn up.
Then there are the back stabbed wires. They don't need to short out. Loose wires start fires.
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Lets have some more details. Suppose I suspect an outlet check.
How would I switch off that circuit?
How would I replace that circuit?
This could be written a bit more clearly, and easily understood.
--
Christopher A. Young
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If they ever report on the cause of the fire please post back.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/02/04/nl-fire-goose-040210.html
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terry wrote:

I think that is exactly the type of problem arc fault circuit protection is intended for. It sounds like virtually everything will have to be AFCI and/or GFCI in homes.
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