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Power cord in puddle of water

  1. Mar 28, 2016 #1

    I felt a power surge in my apartment today - the lights dimmed and surged brighter and a bluetooth speaker o jaf plugged in was making this strong cracking noise. then I smelt the strong odor of burning plastic.... the electronics in one electrical socket seemed to have burnt out but I was perplexed because the circuit breaker or whatever didn't trip and everything was still working.

    I even called the fire dept to check the plug because there was like a hazy smoke and such a strong electrical burnt smell. They came and checked the one socket with the speaker and lights and couldn't figure it out.

    After they left, it took me
    a while to realize that my convection oven wasnt working. It is plugged in behind my metal sink... I found my extension cord badly burnt at the metal connection where the convection oven was plugged into it. It appeared to be a leak under my metal sink and the metal prongs submerged or got wet and the conductivity was the real cause for the perceived "power surge" of the other socket.... I've been trying to Google to see how much voltage and what the impact would have been had I not been standing on the carpeted area of my apartment. the "kitchen" is like vinyl tile or something. Idk, it just seems so rare of an event and I wanted to update the fire dept in case it was helpful info for them incase of a similar event in the future so people don't miss the real danger checking the wrong spot again. Any help objectively explaining the risk or danger of that would help. Also just curious how close I just came to death. Thax.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2016 #2


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    What exactly did get a wrong connection to what?
    If you do not stand in the water or touch the metal sink, it is not dangerous for you at all. Even if you would have, chances are good it is not dangerous, but then it depends on what exactly happened.

    There is always the danger of fire, of course, but I guess you mean electrocution here.
  4. Mar 28, 2016 #3

    jim hardy

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    Was it still warm ?
    Water with something dissolved in it, like salt or Drano or maybe soap.can "short" a plug and make it smoke without tripping the breaker.

    Think about what you said there.
    Something inside the socket burned?
    Something plugged into the socket burned?
    Later you said everything still worked. Except the oven.
    I'm confused.

    Attention to detail is the price of clear communication.

    Wassup, Bro ?

    old jim
  5. Mar 28, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Objectively explaining the risk is the wrong standard to use. You (and anyone reading this thread) should avoid unnecessary risks instead of standing there trying to estimate the risk.

    I disagree with that also because the "if" predicates might be wrong. You should think like a firefighter, not a scientist or engineer when discussing safety.

    When I was a firefighter, we never approached a downed power line closer than 100 feet. An "objective" assessment might have come up with a 10 foot limit instead, or a conclusion that the wire must not be live. But the risk assessment might be wrong and what are the consequences of that? The risk of making an objective assessment in the first place is unnecessary, just assume the worst and stand back.

    The only behavior that should be endorsed when electric shock hazzard is suspected, is to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before investigating.
  6. Mar 28, 2016 #5


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    It is a statement about the past. We can think like a scientist to explore the danger in a scientific way.
    If you have to make a risk assessment to base your future actions on, you have to be much more careful of course.
  7. Mar 29, 2016 #6


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    I'm surprised that the Fire Department didn't look at more of your installation - having bothered to make it as far as your home. Those guys are pretty good at sniffing out potential fires. A gas company manager came to our house and sniffed a tiny gas leak that we had accepted as normal for more than ten years.
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