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Old 12-11-2007, 02:42 PM   #1
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


My parents house is in the big ice storm in Oklahoma. Their feed was pulled down but not disconnected. When the neighborhood was reconnected they heard a hum in the breaker box, followed by smoke, then a fire in another room, apparently from a blower motor, and lots of arcing outside. Their neighbor's garbage disposal also caught fire. The fire department told them to unplug everything, especially motors.

What would cause this?

Incidentally, they had reported the physical damage to their power company before the neighborhood was reconnected. Another neighbor was reconnected with the lines completely disconnected and laying in the yard.

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Old 12-11-2007, 03:41 PM   #2
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


This is very serious matter what happend that you lost the netural and anything is on 120 volt is zoomed up to near 240 volt level and destory anything along the way.

and turn off any 240 volt breakers/fuse loads this will somehow reduce the damage along the way

for any other readers in the path of ice storm if you lose the power.

PLEASE TURN OFF THE MAIN BREAKER UNTIL POWER COMPANY HAVE THE SERVICE DROP REPAIRED PROPERLY.

sorry for uppercase but this is very serious.

anyone who have portable generators PLEASE DO NOT BACK FEED THRU THE MAIN BREAKER.

for other electrical damaged related times please call the electrician to come out and verify the service entrance and other circuits to make sure it is not damaged from the storm

Merci, Marc

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Last edited by frenchelectrican; 12-11-2007 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:16 PM   #3
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post

PLEASE TURN OFF THE MAIN BREAKER UNTIL POWER COMPANY HAVE THE SERVICE DROP REPAIRED PROPERLY.



anyone who have portable generators PLEASE DO NOT BACK FEED THRU THE MAIN BREAKER.
Our linemen are good. Extremely well trained professionals. Turn off the main breaker to protect yourself and your stuff. Don't backfeed a generator to protect the guys working their a$$es off to restore your power in EXTREMELY hazardous conditions. If you are unsure of whether or not you are backfeeding onto the power grid, don't run the generator. Ask questions!!!
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:40 PM   #4
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Severe arcing probably means that one of the upper wires on the pole (primary lines carrying typically from 3000 to 30000 volts) has contacted one of the lines (secondaries) that actually bring 120/240 volt power to homes.

Also all electronics (includes ranges with digital displays, and microwave ovens) should be unplugged before turning the main breaker back on.

About the only items that can be left connected are non-motorized heaters and ordinary light bulbs (incandescent lights) because they are unharmed by undervoltage and they're cheap to replace if they are burned out by overvoltage. You could unplug everything except a light (preferably two lights of dissimilar wattage, one on each side of the 240 volt line) so you can safely leave the main breaker on and more quickly tell when power was restored.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-11-2007 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Risk of dumb question, would a surge protection strip have protected electronics plugged into said strip in this situation, cause seeing this has freaked me out!
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:14 PM   #6
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


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Risk of dumb question, would a surge protection strip have protected electronics plugged into said strip in this situation, cause seeing this has freaked me out!
It would of gave its life for its country,went to its protection voltage level (330 volts,best level).shorted out .tripped breaker.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:18 PM   #7
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


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Risk of dumb question, would a surge protection strip have protected electronics plugged into said strip in this situation, cause seeing this has freaked me out!

They tend to burn up pretty quick releasing a nice cloud of smoke. And the smell of burnt electronics for the next day or two.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:23 PM   #8
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Everyone knows that when you let the smoke out of an expensive piece of electronics, It is very difficult to get back in. Usually the only recourse is a new piece of equipment with more smoke already inside.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:39 PM   #9
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Sounds like the power company should have inspected it's lines a little better before they restored power to that branch of their line.

I seen a similar case in my town back in September when we had severe storm. Not really a widespread power outage, just a lot of secondary lines and service drops. One house a few blocks away got it's mast bend severely when a tree limb fell on the drop and broke it in 3. Most sane people would think that the POCO would have required the homeowner to get an electrician out and replace the mast. Instead, they just reconnected it to the bent mast. From this and everything else I seen from my power co, they handle matters like this very carelessly. I think there is a severe shortage of qualified lineman.

Sorry for the rant...
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:46 PM   #10
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Severe arcing probably means that one of the upper wires on the pole (primary lines carrying typically from 3000 to 30000 volts) has contacted one of the lines (secondaries) that actually bring 120/240 volt power to homes.
If it was primary voltage how much of their electrical system has fried? Letting the smoke out of the breaker box sounds very bad. They were lucky to get an electrician to disconnect them outside the next day, it will probably be at least a week or two before they can even begin to work on it.

In this specific case the scope of the problem makes it difficult. Something like half a million electric customers are without power and work crews have poured in from all over the country, so there is a lot of disorganization.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:16 PM   #11
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


>>> reconnected it to the bent mast ...
>>> half a million ... without power ...

They do do temporary work here and there, even on poles, to get as many customers back on more quickly, with the expectation that follow up work will be done later.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:17 PM   #12
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Fire after reconnect - what happened?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedmont View Post
Risk of dumb question, would a surge protection strip have protected electronics plugged into said strip in this situation, cause seeing this has freaked me out!
I don't see a power strip protecting your equipment.

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