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Fire / Explosion

Electrical Circuit Panel Failure – Short Circuit Causes Fire Loss


Background Information: The effects of a fire can be devastating leading to loss of property, electricity, and even lives. An electrical outage and main breaker panel fire occurred at the insured’s nursing home facility causing some damage and major power outage. FORENSIC ANALYSIS & ENGINEERING CORPORATION (FAEC) was contacted the next day and requested to immediately conduct an examination of a fire and smoke damaged facility to ESTABLISH WHY an electrical panel failure and associated fire within the unit occurred.


Assigned Task: FAEC was asked to perform an engineering examination and evaluation into the causation of the electrical fire and outage that originated with the subject panel. An FAEC consultant was promptly at the scene to begin the investigation.


Observations and Findings: Based upon the information identified during the course of our examination, FAEC was able to complete and determine the following:


              1. Upon examination of the subject fuse and breaker panel, FAEC found all three

                  incoming power leg fuses to still contain continuity, showing that an external

                  power surge originating from an external source such as lightning, did not occur.

              2. FAEC found that the subject copper conductor’s connected end had become

                  compressed over time, producing a thinner set. This was due to the presence of a

                  high heat environment and cyclic vibration induced by nearby boiler machinery.

              3. FAEC has found the loss to be accidental, the fire within the panel was vibration

                  and thermal induced.

              4. FAEC has determined that the puncturing of the conductor’s jacket was caused

                  by vibration over time, and the thinning of the jacket was from the heat exposure

                  in the basement of the facility.

              5. Exposure of the energy charged conductors resulted in metal to metal contact

                  causing an instantaneous flow of energy through the electrical panel structure,

                  inducing a flash and burn of additional conductor jacketing and the fire.


Results of the Investigation: Forensic Analysis & Engineering was able to determine the cause of the electrical failure and ESTABLISHED WHY the damage occurred, from our detailed, comprehensive report and full-color pictures.


Contact Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corporation for electrical failures and fire support at (800) 224-3595 or directly submit an assignment online.

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