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Old 06-04-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
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Fire from a electrical problem.


Brother in law had a fire in his house trailer last night, mattress next to an outlet caught fire and no one hurt but this is what he found. An overloaded circuit I'm sure with a window ac and three other black wires,and three whites coming off the duplex in question, and don't know where they go to. He cleaned up the work box, reset the 15 amp breaker, turned on the ac and the 100 amp breaker tripped on the outside pole, the 15 amp breaker did not trip. any thoughts here......

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Old 06-04-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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Fire from a electrical problem.


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Originally Posted by bernieb View Post
Brother in law had a fire in his house trailer last night, mattress next to an outlet caught fire and no one hurt but this is what he found. An overloaded circuit I'm sure with a window ac and three other black wires,and three whites coming off the duplex in question, and don't know where they go to. He cleaned up the work box, reset the 15 amp breaker, turned on the ac and the 100 amp breaker tripped on the outside pole, the 15 amp breaker did not trip. any thoughts here......
Break out the Hot Dogs & Marshmallows. This is why the 2011 NEC now states that manufactured housing & stick construction now requires AFCI breakers. Really there is nothing you can do with a mobile home (or whatever you call it, it is a fire ready to go), but make sure that AFCI breakers are on all circuits, panel is up to code, and GFCI breakers in all areas that require (ie wet locations (ie heat tape outlet, etc.)).

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Old 06-04-2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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Fire from a electrical problem.


As far as finding the problem, turn off all the breakers and reset the 100 amp main. Turn the breakers on one at a time and see which one is causing the problem. A clamp on ammeter would be handy to move between the breakers as they are turned on. I'm suspecting the fire created a dead short..but that should have tripped the corresponding breaker, not the main. If the main is tripping and no other problems the circuit is simply overloaded or the main is faulty. But the fire is an indicator as to where to start inspecting.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:47 AM   #4
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Fire from a electrical problem.


Now you might have a dead short but if the fire was electrical in origin, perhaps there was a not quite dead short that heated up something either with an arc or with an overload not quite large enough to trip a breaker.

You may need to rip open the wall in the vicinity of the fire. Just the contents of an outlet box might have been blamed for the fire but the heat could radiate through the wires and melt the insulation a few inches away from the box, inside the wall. Now you can get a dead short.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:39 PM   #5
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Fire from a electrical problem.


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.... This is why the 2011 NEC now states that manufactured housing & stick construction now requires AFCI breakers.....
Moot point with HUD certified homes. The AFCI regulations are specifically exempted. Most "mobile" and "double-wide" homes are HUD certified, BTW.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:31 PM   #6
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Fire from a electrical problem.


According to brother in law, his problem is solved ......he and his a/c friend put an ammeter on the 100 amp main breaker and the trailer was drawing 19 amps,then installed a new 100 amp breaker and was drawing 9 amps. My question is can a bad breaker draw amps like that, doesn't sound right to me.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:36 PM   #7
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Fire from a electrical problem.


Breakers do not draw anything....ever. Something was not on at the time of the second test....or several things.

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