Follow-up on girl electrocuted by fence in park

It took until Wednesday for someone to say how the girl was killed last Friday in Baltimore.
It seems that the fence she was touching went in AFTER the power line beneath it. The power line went to a light pole maybe 50 feet away used to illuminate the softball field.
The fence was not the backstop, iiuc, but a 3 1/2 foot tall chain link fence near the backstop. There was a cement footing for the pole, but the pole extended about a quarter inch below the cement, and rested on the cable. Eventually, it wore through the insulation and touched the hot wire. It also cut the neutral wire**, although I don't know yet if that is thought to have anything to do with the electrocution.
Why her? Doing her stretching before the game, she touched both this first fence and another fence a couple feet away. One was hot and the other was a ground.
**I don't know who it did all this with only a quarter inch, but that's what they said and what their diagram showed.
The fence over the electric cable was built 20 or 30 years ago.
No one seems to remember who built it. Would they, should they have checked for electric cables underneath 20 or 30 years ago? By using maps or were there detectors in use then?
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OMG, what a freak thing to happen, so many years later. Thanks for the followup.
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wrote:

I doubt anyone even had a clute there was a wire there. A GFCI would have saved he, as, very likely, would a person who knew CPR.
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On Thu, 11 May 2006 22:38:35 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

She was breathing erratically but still breathing. If she was breathing at all, I think that means her heart was beating.
I've also heard, although only once, that CPR is unlikely to save someone's life. That they make a big deal when it works but it usually doesn't. That's no reason not to try of course in cases where the person isn't breathing or has no pulse.
Even GFCI's you speak about as if it was certain it would save someone from electrocution. I have never heard anyone say it was certain. (What voltage is used by the lights at athletic fields, btw?)
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Yes. They may well have and were told there was NOTHING there. Erroneous "all clear" tickets are a problem in the locating world.

There was perfectly good and reliable cable locating equipment then, and even earlier.
Main lines (electric, com, etc) are always on a "map" somewhere. Individual service "drops" or individual service lines usually are NOT. A simple buried run to a street light fixture would probably NOT be on any map.
With the proliferation of directional boring it is possible (and not uncommon) to go UNDER an obstruction. Of course, going AROUND the object is preferred. The wire in question could have been placed AFTER the fence using directional boring. One would assume that was considered during the investigation of this tragic accident.
:\\ JR
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"Call Before You Dig" has been around for at least that long.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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And this also shows that all the folks who said it's hard to understand how this can happen, as electricity simply follows the easiest path to ground were wrong. The pole was in the ground, even had concrete surrounding some of it, which someone else said was a reasonably good conductor. And certainly there were other poles in the fence that offered a ground path too. Low and behold, the current actually traveled from a cable in the ground up into the fence. Current will follow multiple paths and split according to the resistance. That's what happened here.
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mm wrote:

For a 3.5' tall fence post, the post hole was probably dug about 1.5' - 2' deep. Not that deep at all. Considering the bottom of the post miraculously stopped just at the cable, it's very possible that the guy digging it, knew he hit the cable, was thankful he didn't die, and figured that the concrete would cover the top of the cable and prevent the post from touching the cable itself. Of course the cable being the limiting factor in the hole depth would mean that the post would not be set at the same height as the rest - assuming the guy was relatively careful about setting his posts. I'd check the top of all of the poles to see if that particular pole was noticeably higher than the rest, or to see if it had been cut (a cut in the field would look different than a factory cut post end).
R
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You have to wonder if the post digger saw the line. Last week, I started up my sprinkler system, having put in grass seed. Lo and behold, a burbling spring in the back yard, where the neighbor had his fence put up last fall. The post diggers not only cut my sprinkler line- right on the property line- they poured the footing fully surrounding it. I think they saw, but kept their mouths shut. Oh well, I moved it over- still a piece of pvc in their footing. Good for a few curses and a few laughs, not tragic like in this case.
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RicodJour wrote:

place the poles, let the concrete set, and THEN trim them to the right height. I wonder if anyone is checking to find out who actually put that fence in. I think it is unlikely that there was any detailed map of location -- unless it was put in by the power company. --Phil
--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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wrote:

the post the rest of the way so it stayed upright while the concrete cured. That is why they extend below the concrete. I doubt they knew they hit a cable. BTW if mom knew CPR this would be an amusing story about the success of basic first aid techniques. Electric shock may stop your heart but you are not dead for several minutes.
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CPR isn't the golden pill in all situations, it may have helped or it may not. Young healthy victim, odds are it would have but we won't ever know.
I agree it was a tragedy regardless of the cause.
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wrote:

They said that no one remembered, but I'll bet the paperwork is still around, and they'll find out who the contractor was. If the City of Baltimore did stuff like this, they'll be liable, I think.

The power company was already out there on Saturday saying it was on the far side of the meter, and not their fault. Does the power company ever install things, for a separate fee, on the far side of the meter.
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mm wrote:

No. The power company employs outside wiremen that work under the National Electrical Safety Code. That is the code which, when adopted by the state public utility regulating body, governs high voltage generation and distribution. Once they get the electricity to the customers wiring there work is done. The wiring beyond the demarcation point is done by Inside Wiremen that are more commonly called Electricians. That work is governed by the state and local laws that adopt the National Electric Code by reference. When the power company wants wiring done in their own office they hire an electrical contractor that employs electricians because their own outside wiremen do not do that work.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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Phil Munro wrote:

You don't cut the fence posts unless you have to, so there's no reason to plan on doing it. That was my point. If the post in question was obviously cut, and the others weren't, then the installers knew they hit an obstruction. Question is whether they knew if they hit a cable.
http://www.hooverfence.com/manual/chainlink/install3.htm
R
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wrote:

I was right across from the park last Sunday morning after this happened (the previous Friday afternoon), and I did go looking for it. I found two softball fields, but not the one in the pictures. Either some of the park is only accessible on foot or I missed a road. It's a very big park.
I guess they dug up the fence or they dug beside it to figure it out, and by now they've probably taken the fence down. I think it was only 10 feet long or so.
I was invited to the same thing tomorrow morning, but I'm not going, and I don't think I'll be able to find out any more details.

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I have a 1960 house in Zone 5, and, yes, there are nail pops, some areas in the ceiling where previous hangings are apparent, and the very slightly buckled drywall seams along some walls. (If by "visible" you mean cracked, you might consult an engineer about that, though.)
Sure, it makes sense to gut it, put in new electrical wiring for more features (not sure it's so old it's a problem as is, though - ask an electrician or inspector) if you're doing everything at once and can stand all the sanding dust while you stage that project or live elsewhere. Maybe you can get folks here to brain-storm what they would do once the walls are open, like someone here did concerning their kitchen remod. Certainly more outlets, phone jacks, speaker wires, etc. It sure gives you a good look at the condition of the framing, too.
ON the other hand, in my house I've done some rewalling of exterior walls where there were problems and to re-insulate (while I'm at it) with batt. But other walls and ceilings I'm dealing with by texture painting certain ceilings and certain walls are getting a textured wallpaper (a grass or string). But I don't expect perfect walls and I'm doing this in stages while living in it.
It all depends on your situation and standards.
Banty
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