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Questions On The Code => General Discussions on Code => Topic started by: seansy59 on October 25, 2011, 08:09:30 pm

Title: Electrical Fire
Post by: seansy59 on October 25, 2011, 08:09:30 pm
I would post it here, but it was a PITA to upload the pics, and organize it. So the link is here. You may leave comments in the thread below. This was my post (seansy59 username), but not my news story, although I took the pics myself.

http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/electrical-fire-121182/
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on October 25, 2011, 11:16:38 pm
Quote
I used to go to this old F.P Kolbe antique shop in Pennsylvannia. It was built in 1782! Really nice, right by the delaware. An electrical fire happened though. I went back, and took some pics, also explored the abandoned burnt wiring. I'm upset about this, but I always saw the rats nest of wires of this place. It was terrible. Alot was run off of small little 18 and 20 gauge wire, ungrounded, knob and tube, cloth wire, some even speaker wire. This was taken offline a while ago, so I don't know who wrote the story. But I can agree with everything here. The pics are mine, I took them.

"
The F.P. Kolbe gift shop on River Road in Point Pleasant was not badly damaged in Sunday's blaze. But behind the store's rustic clutter, it looks like a bomb went off.
An official cause has not been determined, but state police fire marshal Anthony Rhodunda said Tuesday the fire that destroyed several businesses appears to have been an electrical malfunction at the back of the Trading Post's main showroom. The place was said to be wired incorrectly and against code, along with the rest of the owner’s buildings that may cause future tragedies. The owner claims he could not afford to redo the electrical system.
While Kolbe's survived, all that remains of the Trading Post are heaps of burned rubble. Piles of terra cotta pots lie beneath more piles of charred, bloated books. Further back, the skeleton of a blacksmith's shopcontains a few recognizable tools beneath yet more piles of blackened remains.
Newtown resident Ray Mathis spent Tuesday sorting through what's left of that workshop, where he's crafted his metal works for the past 20 years. He was working there Sunday when he spotted flames at the Trading Post and alerted the owners.
Most of metal inside Mathis's shop was expanded by the heat of the fire and contracted by the water thrown in to douse the flames. What remained was, for the most part, a mangled mess. What was salvageable, the blacksmith wasn't sure how to fix, now that his machinery is gone. The owner of F.P. Kolbe, who we spoke to said, “I can’t believe it happened, the rest of my store is wired the same way, and I cannot afford to update or have the knowledge to rewire this place. It was built and wired by existing family, and passed down, it has many memories that I do not want to lose”
Fire Marshal Anthony Rhodunda states that the property is not properly wired to code, and is another fire waiting to start unexpectedly. The owner has improper wire throughout the inside and outside of his store, with improper connections and existing knob and tube cloth/paper covered wire that was banned due to fires in the early 40’s, along with existing overloaded fuse panels dating back to the 30’s. Numerous amounts of random wire from appliance cords, indoor NM-B, and cloth wire daisy chained to supply power to the outdoor buildings and lighting. “If this place isn’t rewired, he can expect to lose the rest of his store without any warning” Anthony stated.

(http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/2759/speakerwiredfans.jpg)

(http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/5656/burntpanel.jpg)

(http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/2607/burntrichards.jpg)

(http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/1999/safetynone.jpg)

 :o That first picture is just scary, that's one of the problems with older electrical systems though over time people tend to modify and alter stuff and some of their work it just a scary. It's a shame really this had to happen though.

PS I quoted the post for you. 
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: seansy59 on October 26, 2011, 05:19:04 am
Yeah. There was alot of that small wiring running things like that. The one wire (1st pic) was running 4 of those fans and a light! Then taped to an old spiced cord, and plugged into another extension cord that ran to the other side of the store. Same thing with an old (preheat) shoplight and a few lamps. If I ever go back, I will take alot of pics) if it's still all there. Its a long ride though.

PS: Thanks for inserting it into the thread!  :)
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on October 26, 2011, 05:23:51 pm
That's just scary. :o :(
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on October 26, 2011, 11:51:38 pm
:o Your description sounds even scarier than what the pic shows.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: don on November 23, 2011, 08:02:55 pm
I've been asked to repair wiring many times. Some of the stuff I see is downright terrible. One of the problems is that older homes are many times under-wired since the demand for power was less than it is now. Someone will try to add on to existing wiring and wow...nightmare time! Nothing grounded, solder instead of wire nuts, everything you can imagine.

 When my brother bought his house...and it's a nice house, the wiring was so bad I was getting shocked off of the garage door and heating ducts. I at least made it safe until he got an electrician to redo the panel. I managed to fix outlets and get take some of the old PH 40w fixtures and replace them with new ones (I kept the old ones). One of the old PH fixtures had a bad ballast that shorted to ground, but since it wasn't grounded, I was getting shocked touching the fixture...ouch! Also, the ballast blew out the filaments of a nice vintage westinghouse bulb. Anyway, electrical stuff is nothing to joke around with.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 24, 2011, 11:43:57 am
Yeah. Some of the stuff used to make "repairs" to houses is crazy. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 24, 2011, 01:39:58 pm
I've seen some crazy repairs done in some older stores too. O_o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 25, 2011, 10:58:03 pm
I can home from my uncle's house and his garage's lights are wired to indoor extension cords and plug into an outlet!!! :o The actuall garage door lights and door motor are properly connected thankfully. He has two incandescent JB lights and a four lamp T12 wrap light in there- UNGROUNDED! And he REFUSES to get it wired properly! :o ??? :8)
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 12:03:16 am
:o Have you offered to at least ground his lights by replacing the cords on them?
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: seansy59 on November 26, 2011, 08:06:52 am
I can home from my uncle's house and his garage's lights are wired to indoor extension cords and plug into an outlet!!! :o The actuall garage door lights and door motor are properly connected thankfully. He has two incandescent JB lights and a four lamp T12 wrap light in there- UNGROUNDED! And he REFUSES to get it wired properly! :o ??? :8)

I used extension cords to wire my lights. But they are 3 wire grounded at least.
I now use 3 wire replacement 16ga. stranded cord at home depot. Its $0.50 a foot, and then I wire a grounded plug on there. Its the stuff mostly used for tools, appliances, vacuums, etc. That makes it code compliant, safer, and sometimes its cheaper.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 11:21:06 am
Once his mind is made up, there's NO way to change it. We'll have to wait for his garage to burn down with his new car inside to change his mind unfourtunatly. :-\ The good thing is, if he does agree to get it fixed (if he does he surely won't let me do it >:() the outlet is grounded so it is possible to add grounded wiring. I'll draw him up a diagram on how it would ideally be, and how he can get it to code.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 12:41:04 pm
Depending on how the garage is you might have to use conduit to meet code.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 01:37:52 pm
The garage is unfinished inside, but in good structural condition. Good variety of spider webs too. :P
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 01:59:38 pm
Check up with the NEC or Jace but I BELIEVE that you can use romex in unfinished garages under certain circumstances.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 02:51:54 pm
My grandpa had an electricain wire his garage. It's just romex, but it's the weather resistant kind (Gray finish). My garage is finished. My dad wants more outlets in the garage since we only have one in there. He won't let me do the work either, so when we put enough $$$ aside, we'll have an electricain come. It's not a top priority, and we could get it done right now if we wanted to, but there's other things we're gettign doen 1st.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 03:04:54 pm
The weather resistant romex would probably be type UF or NMWU wire, that's what my street lights originally had.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 05:09:43 pm
Yep. I thought it was either UV or U-something. The jacket is a Gray color.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 05:24:38 pm
Yep that's UF wire, it can be direct buried to run power to posttops for example.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 09:51:04 pm
Yeah. The local code allows no conduit above ground as long as it's weather resistant wire apparently.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 10:10:51 pm
 :o Not sure if my area allows this but I still prefer using conduit outdoors.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 11:24:53 pm
Me too. Public area of course need conduit, but underground areas and areas with no pedestrial traffic  don't need conduit apparently since the electrician didn't use it. I'd fear of wire theives since he lives in downtown Pawtucket. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 26, 2011, 11:43:40 pm
The good thing about conduit is that you don't have to dig everything back up to add/replace wiring.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 26, 2011, 11:59:32 pm
Yeah. and you don't have to worry about anything accidentally cuttign the wire either. The PVC conduit will break eventually, which is why i like EMT better.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 12:15:16 am
Rigid (RMC) would be a better choice outdoors imo.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 10:05:10 am
I was thinking that was EMT as well. :-[
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 01:21:23 pm
See here (http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_basics_steel_conduit/) for a brief overview on the types of steel conduit in use.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: SeanB~1 on November 27, 2011, 02:15:27 pm
I prefer pvc conduit for underground, even for cable that can be buried, as it makes for better cut resistance. Steel conduit is not good here where it will rust away in short order no matter what you do. The only time I will do so is for vandal resistance, and ther I will use a length of steel water piping, as it is thicker and more resistant to cutting. I have put copper water pipe inside cast iron pipe ( that actually did cost more than the copper pipe, but is very hard to cut and is good protection) to deter the copper bandits.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 03:06:48 pm
Ahh, I see now. ;D
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 03:38:13 pm
Note that you probably can't find the more specialized conduits and fitting at the box store.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 03:49:50 pm
Yeah. Probably just EMT
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 03:52:09 pm
I think I've seen some rigid at the orange box before...they're for the service mast.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 04:21:51 pm
Maybe. The blue box here only sells plastic service enterances! >:( I love those things. They look cool lol. I don't have one on my house though. :(
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 04:29:07 pm
I've Ive seen the metal weather heads sold here too.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 05:05:55 pm
Speakign of electrical fires, there was a fire in either Providence or Pawtucket that burned down last night. The cause is believed to be cuased by an altered fuse circut board. It was just on the 5PM news. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 05:23:25 pm
I hope that doesn't mean someone put pennies behind the fuses. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 06:42:38 pm
Pennies behind the fuses? The fuses installed were rated too high for the holders. Apparently one of the occupants in the appartment was continuously blowing fuses and the landlord installed a fuse rated way higher than the max and it ended up melting the wire and burning down the appartment. :o I checked and the fire was in a very bad section of Providence (Olneyville to be exact). Luckily everyone got out in time.  :)
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 08:10:53 pm
That's just as bad as pennies. :P
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 09:10:53 pm
What do pennies do? Do they bypass the fuses?
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 09:17:55 pm
Yeah that's basically what it does. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 09:34:54 pm
That's just askign for the house to go up in flames! :o :8)
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 27, 2011, 09:57:20 pm
Yeah it's basically like connecting stuff directly to the service panel.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 27, 2011, 10:22:11 pm
There's way too many people out there who don't know the slightest thing when it comes to electrical work. :8) I don't know much of anything behind the breaker panel, power lines, etc. I know more about basic connections and lighting connections.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 28, 2011, 09:06:19 pm
Some of the wiring job in some stores are scary. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 28, 2011, 09:55:50 pm
Especially in those antique shops and thrift stores. :o
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 28, 2011, 10:08:19 pm
Especially in those antique shops and thrift stores. :o

I've seen many a modification and extension cord wiring to power those display cases.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 28, 2011, 10:24:43 pm
My granpa's display cases have plugs on them. They're not extension cornd though, the plugs are hardwired on and they were plugged in for the first time in 10+ years when i visited him.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 28, 2011, 10:26:28 pm
Another place that seems to have a lot of bad wiring are those flea markets.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 28, 2011, 10:31:36 pm
Ahh. Yeah. Any place you'll find underprized, surplus items basically.....
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: joe_347V on November 28, 2011, 11:26:50 pm
I've noticed that some people can get quite creative with those blue or orange outdoor cords.
Title: Re: Electrical Fire
Post by: Mike on November 28, 2011, 11:39:11 pm
Yeah. I've seen a wallpack on a home in providence being fed by a bright orange exentsion cord No conduit, just the orange extension cord tacked to the side of the house. :o :8)