mbarker (mbarker) wrote,

Restoring power after an earthquake causes fires?

We're watching a retrospective about the Great Hanshin Earthquake. One of the points that they raised is that at least some of the fires that followed the earthquake were due to resuming electrical service! See, apparently when the earthquake hit, power shut down. And in many places, of course, lights, electrical heaters, and other gadgets got bounced around in the quake. But since they had no power, no problem.

But then the electricity started being restored, and... Now the heater laying in a blanket comes on and starts a fire. They are saying that several of the fires in the hour or so window after the earthquake can be traced pretty directly to restoration of electrical power.

Restore service and start fires, or leave the power off and subject people to winter weather without power? They didn't say, but I'll bet some of the power return was automatic, too.

Makes me wonder about building shake sensors into the breaker boxes.
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