Preliminary results - investigation into Parkerville fire

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EnergySafety’s investigations have found that the Parkerville fire started following the failure of a private power pole.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said today that wiring insulation was damaged as the pole fell.

“The insulation on the consumer wiring leaving the main switchboard that was attached to the pole was damaged as the pole fell,” he said.

“This caused a short circuit in the wiring, and the resulting sparks and hot metal ignited the fire.”

EnergySafety has taken possession of the consumer’s main switchboard, relevant sections of wiring and the pole.

“These items will be examined in more detail this week, and our investigations are continuing, including consideration of how the pole failed and the suitability of hard wood poles for consumers’ private power lines,” Mr Bowron said.

He said EnergySafety was coordinating its efforts with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Western Power to gain a clear understanding of how the fire started and what could be done in future to prevent such devastating fires.

“It is clear at this stage that a failed privately owned power pole was involved, without knowing the cause of the failure of the pole.

“It is timely to remind everyone that it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain all electrical equipment they own which is beyond the network operator’s point of supply. This includes power poles.

“I extend my sincere sympathy to all those who have suffered damage to property or lost their homes and personal possessions.”

Media contact: Ken Bowron 9422 5201

Media release
15 Jan 2014

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