Water Pipe Damage Due to Arcing

Several years ago, it was permissible to “ground” an electrical system by attaching a wire from the grounding strip or terminal inside the fuse or breaker panel to a metallic pipe.  In many older homes and commercial buildings, this is still the case.  The intended purpose of doing so is to channel stray current directly to earth ground in order to prevent injury and damage to people and property.  Stray current can come from electrical problems with appliances, power surge and lightning.  In a recent investigation, a situation was discovered where electric utility wiring was faulty and caused their side of the power supply to a residence to energize the “ground” or neutral side of the supply.  The end result was the creation of several arcs between the ground wire strap and a copper water pipe.  The arcing that occurred was intense enough to burn holes in the piping.  Since the pipe was part of the hot water supply to the home, the home was flooded.  The damage to the pipe is shown in the photo below.   

Lightning Hits Car

It’s not unheard of  for lightning to strike a stationary object.  But a moving vehicle?  What are the odds of that happening?  We were recently involved in the investigation of just such a case.  Lightning apparently struck a 2002 Mercury Sable during a rain storm on a major highway.  While examining the vehicle, it  was noted that the end of  the antenna  had been partially melted.  In course of the strike, the  driver was unhurt, but all of the electronic devices had been damaged to the  extent that the entire vehicle was a total loss.  How does that happen?  All vehicles are connected to the negative battery terminal by way of a cable attached to the body/chassis of the  vehicle.  The lightning bolt would simply travel along any metallic surface and branch into all devices by way of their connection to the chassis.  After having traveled through the vehicle, lightning then traveled out of the vehicle and into the ground.  A review of lightning in the area confirmed its presence and the possibility that the vehicle had been hit.  The pictures below show the damage to the antenna and  the pavement.

Damage to antenna caused by lightning

Holes in pavement caused by lightning strike

%d bloggers like this: