Missing Wires Lead to Fire

House Fire

Ronald J. Panunto, PE, CFEI, CVFI, CFC, Electrical Engineering Consultant ::::
Case Synopsis: A fire occurred on the outside wall of a home. An origin and cause investigation showed that the fire originated from overheated cable TV/communications wiring. The communications company was put on notice and an expert was retained by them to determine their liability, if any.
Expert Analysis: An examination of the communications wiring in the area of origin was completed and it was determined that the green communications ground wire had gotten hot enough to melt the insulation. The insulation then caught on fire, which then caused the siding on the house to catch fire.
The communication ground wire is installed primarily to prevent damage to the communication equipment due to lightning strikes. Under normal circumstances it should never carry any current, so it was a puzzle why it carried an overcurrent high enough to start a fire.
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