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Old 12-05-2010, 10:15 AM
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Default 120 volt underground fire. electrical service @ my home.

so over thanksgiving weekend i had some issues at my house. half the house wouldnt turn on electric wise. couldnt figure otu why. not even enough power to turn on a light bulb. reset all the breakers, checked to make sure none were deffective, checked all gfi outlets for half trips. got nothing. no improvement.

called al electrician. checked the breakers. found one in the panel for my a/c unit had issues. changed the breaker. problem came back 6 hours later. so im like WTF. a/c wasnt even on as its 30 degrees here.

so electrician came back. found out i had 120v on one leg coming into the house from the jcp&l service. 26v on the other leg. this explains why half the house wouldnt turn on. so now im like this isnt gonna be good.

called jcp&l they came out and checked. same problem. problem was with the service coming into the house from the street. so they ran a temp line into the house so we had power and heat. and got us on the schedule to have the line coming into the house repaired.

following day the guys came otu to fix the line. at first they were going to mole a new line into the house. but that would have had to go under 2 driveways. which is no good. so they put a thumper on the line to make sure it was where they thought it was. the thumper sends 50-60v through the line and it makes a thump noise so you can find the line.

so they find the line, on the side of my house. and we start to dig. i helped them out as i knew the one dude for quite some time. so we dig down and smell this HORRID smell of electrical fire. not good. very not good. so we start to find peices, yes i said peices of this line. they looked like burned and charred peices of wood. not even wire.

the wire in the ground is 6 core aliminum wire, size of 1/0 wire we use. but with a very thick strand aluminum wire. what happened was the outside coating on the wire got knicked some how. and this caused the wire to decay and cause resistance. resistance = heat. once the power was jumping the decayed spots to other spots it just got so hot it was burning tree roots, burned 4ft of the line into dust, and caused the power to die coming into my house.

and yes i took pictures. this is what happens when you have 120v of direct power catch a wire on fire underground.


on the left in this picture is the new line next to the old line.and the fleck metal on the outside was once the aluminum core.



this pic is the line that was cut back to get to fresh so they could splice it next to the peices we found in the hole.



picture of the strand count and wire type inside. this completly was destroyed.




picture of the burned tree root.



legnth of the wire that got toasted.




obliterated wire.




in this picture note the bottom of the chunk of wire. where it has a tanish color. this is sand that was being turned into glass from the electricity.






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Old 12-05-2010, 10:27 AM
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Dang that's crazy. Cool pics, though.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:36 AM
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that voltage owned that wire man. it smelled real bad.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:47 AM
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Crazy man,glad nothing worse happened.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:49 AM
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yea was about 20ft from the house. only other thing was it melted the phone line also so i have no landline or internet right now. until tuesday ill have cable.
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