Thursday, January 22

How could this accident have been prevented?

First off, I have a new source for amazing fire photos, First Due Fire Photos
, which is where I saw the following image taken at the scene of quite a fire in Ansonia, CT.
The image is part from a series taken by the gentleman noted in the photo, which includes a dramatic bailout from a third floor amidst heavy smoke.

No doubt this was a tense situation and the life of a brother was at risk, but while looking through the photos, this one grabbed me right away:

See the whole series HERE

Even though from the comfort of my laptop and having plenty of time to guess that is a cable TV line I'm not going to touch it. I don't care if the utility guy himself is touching it and not dead, any wire overhead is there for a reason.

Now before everyone starts posting that I'm wrong or overly cautious, look again at the other wire nearby that they already passed or are about to pass. Think they'll grab that one too? No one was injured as a result of this, at least not reported, but is this a habit to get into?

Helmet off to the folks who thought fast to get a ladder to the white helmet bailing out and control the fire to the best of their ability, but this is an accident waiting to happen.


Jean said...

The catch is, you don't see where that wire ended on either side in that particular picture. In other picture, I see "wrapped" wire connected to wall as if it is main electricity supply, just like my house. But, the other single wire seems to be tacked to wall in a manner inconsistent of REAL electric wiring. More like either land-line telephone line (like my parents') or up-in-air-not-buried cable line. Yeah, I know- if I had a tunnel vision of THAT picture, I'd also wondering what they're doing! Why not ASK these firefighters for their story concerning that wire they were holding? What they see which tells them it is safe to just cut and hold? I'm a willing learner. Now this is making me want to take a walk and look at each house to determine which wire is for what and whether it be safe for ME to cut it or not.

Lastly, I'm so happy that everybody got to go home from that fire!!

Anonymous said...

Well HM, I see your concern here. We are a rural Department and a lot of our guys and gals work in the trades. We have a pretty good idea of what is carrying current and what is not (OK, to be more specific, we know EXACTLY which wires are carrying current and which are not), so I can see these guys (gals?) being comfortable with grabbing a wire to move it clear. On the other side of the coin, we had a structure fire a while back where none of our electricians felt comfortable that the power had been properly shut off, and requested confirmation from the power company technician. He got huffy, but checked it anyway, and we all found out he had shut off the wrong grid section (which explained to us how the car the "cold" power line fell on and exploded). Almost got a few of our people toasted. Nasty fire with hidden propane tanks we found during overhaul. You can NEVER be too careful. Looks to me like this crew has it's shit together. Everybody went home.
Capt. Tom

The Happy Medic said...

Agreed they did a bang up job getting everyone home and the fire out, and like I said in the post, the armchair quarterback sees things others don't and has time to change their mind and look around.
My main point was that moving wires should always be a last resort and cutting A/V wire to move a basket may be a good call, maybe not. I had a wire down call where the A/V cable was resting on the high voltage line at the house. Was it live? We never found out and even the utility guy considered it live.
I'm also in the mindset to have the second or third truck companies cover that aspect of the house, but I understand limited resources in some areas only have 1, if any, ladders responding.

By the way, in case I forgot, congrats on the promotion Capt Tom.

Dantarious said...

I'm with you HM, you never know what weird things the resident has done that properly trained electricians or cablemen would never have done. Why risk it. Sometimes I go so far as reminding myself that it isn't my emergency, and unless another FF's life was on the line, I try not to let the excitement of the call cloud my judgement. I'm glad no one got hurt, and still think the crews in the very nice pictures did a great job.

Anonymous said...

There are no guarantees.

You don't know if that telecom line is crossed with some 120v inside due to conditions.

Just like at a traffic accident with a broken pole.... yeah, that's just telecom hanging low in your way, but did you notice the 14kV primary that whipped loose from the recoil - three spans away - and is now laying on that the telecom... looking for a path to ground that you are about to provide when you move it?

There are no guarantees.

Good call, HM.

- F4