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Author Topic: Wife nearly died Sunday Night  (Read 1397 times)

Offline HaroldCR

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Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« on: October 12, 2016, 09:21:19 PM »
 

 It was a typical Rainy season night. Medium density rain falling,
little bit of wind, and the sound of thunder in the distance. Wife
was preparing clothes to be ironed.

 Instead, she decided to make hot chocolate for us. I had already
disconnected all the electronics from the outlets, computer, modem,
UPS, television, and ampiliers from the external antenna, outside.

Lights were blinking, as usual, and we were as content as possible.
I was sitting in my favorite chair at the computer desk, when, SNAP
lightning hit something, DAMN close. Wife yelped, as usual, and I
turned and looked at her. She was standing by the stack of clothes piled
on a bar stool type chair I had built, and the house was filling with
the odor of burnt plastic and ozone. I grabbed a flashlight and started
searching for smoke or fire. Wife was kinda slumped on the stack of clothes
and seemed fine, so, I went out the back door and looked toward the shop.
All was dark, no fire. Came back in the house and wife was slumping more toward
the floor and had moved about 6 feet to another chair, presumably to sit in.
She was making weird sounds and having trouble breathing. Then, she slid down toward
the floor and caught her chin on the chair and was choking. I grabbed her and
it was like trying to move a sack of water. Limp as could be. She had 1 foot caught
in the toe kick of a portable island cabinet I built, and I had quite a time getting
it loose.

 Finally, I had her propped against the base cabinets in the kitchen and sitting on
the floor.She had difficulty breathing and heart was beating probably just below fibrillation.
I ran to check more areas as the odor was very strong and I suspected to find fire, somewhere.
Ran back to check on wife and she was in dire straits. I moved/dragged her into the living room
and managed to get her on the sofa.She only weighs 95 pounds, but, being limp, felt like 500
pounds. Went to the phone to call for help and, of course, it was dead. Went back and wife was breathing a little
easier,and heart rate was down some. She has a valve problem as it is.

 After a bit she was not comfortable, so, wanted to get on her rocking chair. Don't think THAT wasn't a fun deal.
Anyway, an hour or so later, I talked her into laying on the bed, to reduce pressure from sitting. She was hurting
badly and arms and legs wouldn't work. So, I got her up and dragged her into the bedroom and onto the bed.

 Took a final look all around, and, finding NO smoke, sat down to catch my breath. Kept checking on her throughout
the night and she is still recovering. Turns out, she was in the fridge and had reached out to close the door when
she was zapped by the lightning strike. This is in the middle of the house, roughly. She said yesterday, she was lifted
off the floor and saw an arc oflightning jump between her knees. There is no sign of burning
anywhere on her. She is mostly fine, just weak as water.

 Yesterday, I went outside and checked all the wires, especially the phone line. Everything is fine. What the hell ??
Happened to glance over at the TV antenna, and could not make out the co/ax going from the metal pole to the house.
Went and took a better look, and, the section of co/ax, about 6' long, was laying on the ground. Lightning had hit it somethere
and burned it off at the pole and at the roofline of the house.We just put a new metal roof on this summer. There is a hole
in the metal roof that I could probably stick a pencil through, and the section of cable was burned in 3 areas. I went in the house
and pulled the pre amp out from behind the brand new TV, and saw soot on the table/shelf. The pre amp was burned up inside.

 Now, all you engineers and such, how the hell did lightning get from there, to about 18' away with no cable in the area, and strike the wife ???
I'm thinking it was a big static charge, but, why from the fridge and to her through the cement/ceramic tile floor ??
 

Offline Kirk Allen

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 08:28:57 PM »
As you know, lightning is unpredictable and will always seek a good ground. 

So glad she is doing better.  Truly a life changing moment!

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching!

Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 02:50:37 AM »

 Thanks Kirk. Strange thing is, she was wearing plastic/rubber flip flops and nowhere near any electricity ? The antenna cable was the signal co/ax, not the power cable. It was disconnected from the 120V outlet, as was all other electronic and power equipment.

 She was also standing on ceramic tile on the concrete floor. Yes, I'm VERY aware of what lightning will do completely out of the ordinary.

 She is still very weak, but, feeling better. Eyes are constantly watering and legs are weak. Don't ever need this to happen again, EVER.

Offline furu

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 05:29:16 PM »
Quite the story and scary experience for her.  Sorry that it happened and glad she seems better.  Lightening can be very unpredictable as Kirk stated.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2016, 02:55:08 AM »

 Besides her being weak, now she seems to be experiencing "welders flash".  I caught her sitting back in her rocker with manzanita tea bags over her eyes. After she finally told me about her eyes burning, I got her to put slices of raw potato on them, and let that alleviate the burning.

 Seems to have worked pretty well, even though it was a week after the incident.  ::) Nurses make TERRIBLE patients.  ::)

Offline Kirk Allen

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2016, 05:38:17 PM »
Any chance the concrete floor has rebar in it? 
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching!

Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 01:11:27 AM »

 Probably wire mesh for slabs. Build things absolutely as cheap as possible, down here. Also, ass backwards. I constantly hear "we do things different down here".  ::)

Offline Stevem

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 04:53:03 AM »
Hope the wife is better.  That's a scary thing to happen.

FWIW:
You might have a grounding problem! I had a house once that lost the ground wire (corrosion) from the power company at the pole. My driven ground, 2 feet of water pipe, was arcing with a loose clamp.  If you have any current flow or voltage at a driven ground you have a bad ground connection to the house.   

Have you got a driven ground at all buildings that use electricity?  Double the one at the house and tie it to the other one(s).  Might want to tie a solid copper wire up to the metal roof tied to ground.  Lighting rods maybe? instead of/higher than TV antenna.

Any crossed neutrals/grounds? Neutral is not ground except at the main power entrance.  Sub distribution panels need the ground and neutral kept separated. If neutral and ground are crossed after the main power entrance you get what is called a "ground loop".  Not good.  Causes weird problems with communication gear.  Many sub panels you buy cross the neutral and ground and you have to separate them before use as a sub-panel.

On older installation without polarized plugs and sockets you can cross hot and neutral by just plugging in an appliance the wrong way and not know it.  An AC appliance doesn't care which side is hot.  Runs either way.  Puts line voltage on what should have been neutral like the outside of a freezer, a metal case of a (oldie) radio or the aluminum skin of a trailer.  I've seen all three.  Cross hot with neutral and then cross neutral with ground and you can have some real problems. The easy way to check http://www.lowes.com/pd/Southwire-Analog-Voltage-Detector-Meter/50129728

I've seen surge protector power strips swap hot and neutral.  If they are blinking or the indicator light is out throw them away. Better to have a power strip that doesn't have a surge protector than one with a defunct one.  Surge protectors are generally only good for one hit! 

I've also seen new houses where one of the wall plugs in a string of plugs was wired backwards.  Must have been a new apprentice!  I've personally had to check every damn plug in the house before I found the wrong ones. Not an issue unless you use the turned plug.

Good luck and God speed the wife's healing.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 05:06:01 AM by Stevem »
Stevem
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Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2016, 01:32:11 PM »

 Thanks for all that, Steve.

 Most of my life has been involved with electricity. Apprenticed with the best one in the town I grew up in. Power Co. lineman for 13 years + all kinds of installing/troubleshooting.  Just replaced a rotting ground rod clamp a month ago. All MY wiring is done correctly. All the Tico wiring is NEARLY replaced or simply eliminated. I am certain all my grounds are tight and clean. I live by that code. Have lived here nearly 13 years  :o and this is the first problem other than fence wires burned off, and a couple trees struck.

 As you probably know, Lightning is static buildup and discharge. Can go sky to earth or earth to sky, depending on which is negative and positive charged.

 There was a pre amp hooked to the antenna and to another amp behind the TV. The second half of the pre amp was burned significantly. The other amp and the first half at the antenna LOOK to be untouched. The other amp I have working as we speak, after placing an impedance transformer at the antenna. We have 60-80 feet tall trees within 20 feet of the antenna, and, it is 20 feet off the ground?

 It blew a section of the co/ax from the metal pole to the house, completely away and it layed on the ground, with a couple of sections of outer covering blown away.

 In 'Nam, with the 60 KW gen set I hooked up, occasionally the KP's would call the shop and needed help from getting blasted by the freezers/fridges doors. I would walk down there and open and close the doors several times with nothing happening.They would touch it and jump like they were shot. I would unplug the cord and turn it over and plug it in and they were fine. ?? Several days/weeks later, I had to the same thing going back to the original plug position. ??

 All I know is, you can't fool Mother Nature. If she wants to play, she always wins.

Offline Stevem

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2016, 03:46:55 PM »
Sounds like your on top of the grounding. 

Also sounds like I was preaching to the choir!

I will add one more item though.  Older telephone installs used a heavy duty spark gap thingy to protect from surges and they can short out and be ineffective.  You might check at the demark of the phone line.  The ones I've seen are like a screw in button or a largish push in fuse cartridge.

E & I team in Nam?

Hope this doesn't happen again.
Stevem
Because you can doesn't mean you should!

Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2016, 10:50:24 PM »

 Infantry in Cu Chi, and ducking rounds and getting shit orders from those dumber than dog shit. That's why I volunteered for electrical duty and ended up running the whole generator shop.

 I will DEFINITELY check into that telephone stuff, being as how our system is 30 years old or more. Thanks for that info, Steve

Offline Stevem

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 03:19:15 PM »
The spark gap thingys can also open and lose all protection.
Stevem
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Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 12:19:17 AM »

 OK, Noted for when I get back home. Thanks

Offline HaroldCR

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Re: Wife nearly died Sunday Night
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2016, 11:23:52 AM »
Wife update
 Talked with her last night. She had unplugged EVERYTHING in the house because of severe lightning, including the phone. When she was examined by the doctor, she was found to have "0" minerals in her body. Dr could not believe she walked over 1/2 mile to the clinic. They gave her 5 bags of electrolyte solution and a mess of medicine to get her back on track. On another forum, someone stated that's exactly what happens when hit with substantial electricity surge, lightning. She is extremely lucky to be alive.

 I listened for 20 minutes with her, and she never stopped talking.  ::) Back to normal, I guess.  8) :laugh: