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reason # 43 to call.

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Techman, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    michigan
    There was a fire in my building. The two end tenants experienced an electrical fire. Although it was not serious. The electrical problem was caught by a manager before it got out of hand. Very close call. It was within a minute or two of being too late because he was on his way out for home.

    The cause.

    A contractor installed underground wiring for cable access to the building. Even though all the other underground wires and plumbing were marked they still managed to nick the power feeds. Possible miss mapped lines???...

    dual quad 3 phase feeds.

    Somehow the wire nick caused a leak to neutral that caused a reverse feed back into the building. Inside one circuit on each end of the building overloaded on the bare copper ground line. Of course it lit up and burned. Of course the wiring was on wood. Of course the only reason the fire did not get fully involved was because one person on his way out saw smoke.

    This could have been a disaster. But it will still cost the contractor thousands to get this all fixed. All the wiring in the building is being audited. All the burned wiring has to be replaced. The quad four 3 phase underground feed has to be replaced. The smoke damage has to be cleaned.

    I was lucky in that just my floors are tracked up from the fire department coming through to look for possible fire and a few ceiling tiles will need to be replaced.

    Be sure to call Miss Dig and get the clearances. Otherwise you could be in for some very bad karma.
     
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  2. Rodi

    Rodi Very Active Member

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Good thing all are ok, that is scary!
     
  3. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    Ouch... good thing it was caught. And yes, even though lines are 'marked' it's still possible to hit 'em. Marking only gives approximate locations, it's the digging part you have to be careful with. If I'm ever in doubt, I hand dig slowly - never with a power auger!
     
  4. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Jun 7, 2006
    PA
    We called our PA dig this past spting for digging on our own property. We installed 6 bollards for parking near the one end of our building.

    All utilities responded within two days and we had the 'Go-Ahead'.

    The guy wanted to start digging and I went out to show him exactly what I wanted and then I noticed our gas line wasn't marked.

    I called PA Dig and they said I have a 100% 'Go-Ahead' and I proceeded to inform them that there were gas lines under where we were digging. I was instructed that I had to contact the gas company on my own and they still refused to come out for another two days. They said they had everything marked that was in the vicinity of 100' of where we were digging. Well, they finally show up and low & behold.... there was a main gas feed running within a foot of where we digging. The frickin' inspector said.... this doesn't show up on their records. I then told him he better RE-write his frickin' diagrams.

    Their excuse was it was probably an old un-used line. NOPE !! It's the main feed for my neighbor and it's on MY property.

    So we could've really started something if we had gone ahead with their findings.



    OH, how I love today's competence.
     
  5. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    Oct 16, 2008
    VA
    I'm with you Gino. We had a property marked and ended up hitting a 600 pair phone cable. Not bad, but it's never a good day when you hit something. No mark where we dug it. Called them, they sent someone back out, they marked it again. Marks in different places that time. I called them back and requested to meet the guy out there. They called, I met him out there, he marked it while I was standing there, and marked it in yet another place.

    So 3 surveys, 3 different sets of marks. I moved the holes, started digging, hit another phone wire. Called the guy, he met me there again and pulled up the drawings and said "oh, that's probably just a dead line, they don't show up".

    So I moved it over about 6 inches and mounted it. I did have him measure the depth of the 600 pair line. 12" deep. Apparently it was buried deep enough and they came and leveled out the property to build on it. They took a solid 2 feet off that area, leaving the utilities 12" deep. The line went directly under a row of shrubs the landscaping had just planted.

    I called Miss Utility and raised hell with them. I asked them how anyone was supposed to have confidence in digging when 3 trips yielded 3 different sets of marks. They said they understood my concern, and all they could do was have someone meet me out there.

    I used to think an auger was the way to go, now I'm afraid hand digging is the way to go.
     
  6. Patrick46

    Patrick46 Member

    We installed a catch basin for the drainage ditches in front of our home some years ago.

    Called the utilities for a preinspection & plot.

    You guessed it.
    I have a picture of the installer guy with a stream of water shooting up from under him to about 25 feet high! Had to shut down the entire block's water for almost the entire day, while the utility came out, the city inspectors, bla, bla, bla. Had to wait while they repaired the (mismarked) broken water main line, and backflushed it all. Lotsa angry, muddy peoples.
    (I was NOT very popular with the neighbors.....again............well, that, and with the loud motorcycles an all :rolleyes: )
     
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