Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria recently, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise - a bit like a whip - both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.

Reuters

Electricity News
Product Info Centres
Electrical Transformers
Electrical Test Equipment
Electrical Safety/Arc Flash
Electrical Safety Forum
Arc Flash Clothing
Renewable Energy
Alternative Energy
Other Options

Subscription

 
Training Courses

Electrical Safety For Qualified Electrical Workers

  • May 26, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • June 20, 2016 - St. John's, NL
  • June 23, 2016 - Halifax, NS

2-Day Basic and Advanced Electrical Safety Training Workshop

  • May 26-27, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • June 20-21, 2016 - St. John's, NL
  • June 23-24, 2016 - Halifax, NS

Advanced Electrical Safety Training Workshop

  • May 27, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • June 21, 2016 - St. John's, NL
  • June 24, 2016 - Halifax, NS

Canadian Fire Alarm and Life Safety Systems - Design, Installation And Testing

  • May 30-31, 2016 - Richmond, BC
  • June 1-2, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • June 16-17, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • June 20-21, 2016 - Mississauga, ON

2015 Electrical Code Update Training

  • May 30-31, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • June 1-2, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • June 13-14, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • June 15-16, 2016 - Richmond, BC
  • June 27-28, 2016 - Halifax, NS
  • June 29-30, 2016 - St. John's, NL

Emergency Generators/UPS/ Battery Technologies

  • September 8-9, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • September 12-13, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • September 14-15, 2016 - Saskatoon, SK
  • September 19-20, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • September 21-22, 2016 - Richmond, BC

MV-HV Industrial Electrical Maintenance/Safety Practices

  • October 17-18, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • October 19-20, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • October 24-25, 2016 - Saskatoon, SK
  • October 26-27, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • November 3-4, 2016 - Richmond, BC

Electrical Grounding For Industrial Power Systems

  • November 1-2, 2016 - Richmond, BC
  • November 3-4, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • November 7-8, 2016 - Saskatoon, SK
  • November 9-10, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • November 14-15, 2016 - Mississauga, ON

Power Transformer Testing and Maintenance

  • November 21-22, 2016 - Mississauga, ON
  • November 23-24, 2016 - Winnipeg, MB
  • November 28-29, 2016 - Edmonton, AB
  • December 12-13, 2016 - Richmond, BC
 
Affiliates
 
Featured Product

Solid Brass Padlocks

Hercules Industries, Inc.
The complete line of solid brass padlocks at a very competitive price with two-week delivery...
... more
 
Advertisement
 
Latest Buyer's Guide Companies
Sign Up Today and Receive Our FREE E- Newsletter

E-newsletter service - Exciting industry trends, technical developments, product information, forums and electrical training courses.