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Case Studies | Electrical Engineering

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Electrical Engineering

Facilitating Pre-Trial Settlement

A fire occurred in an independent living facility, causing extensive damage to the kitchen and dining room areas.  The facility was only a few years old at the time of the fire, but had experienced recent problems with their air-conditioning unit for the dining room and kitchen areas.  The facility’s insurance company called in Amset to assist with the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire.

 Investigation

 During Amset’s initial inspection, careful analysis of the fire patterns revealed that the fire originated in the attic, in the area of an electrical cable that was being used to supply electricity to an A/C unit located outdoors.  Amset subsequently coordinated the mechanical and electrical portions of a joint scene examination with representatives of various potentially responsible parties.  Non-destructive testing was conducted on-site, eliminating the A/C unit as the cause of the fire. Evidence was then collected from the scene and retained by Amset to continue the evaluation of the potential causes of the fire in our laboratory. Amset’s investigation resulted in the conclusion that the cause of the fire was an undersized and improperly installed electrical cable for the A/C unit. 

Photograph two shows a section of the cable distant from the area of origin that was overheating, causing the thermal insulation to begin charring. The cable’s placement through the thermal insulation, combined with elevated attic temperatures, caused the undersized cable to overheat and start the fire.

Conclusion

Upon reporting Amset’s findings to our client, a lawsuit was filed against the electrician that installed the electrical cable that was found in the area of origin.  Amset’s electrical and mechanical engineers testified in depositions regarding the origin and cause of the fire and witnessed depositions of the electrician and their consultant. 

Through Amset’s investigation and testimony, our client successfully recovered more than $700,000 of the total loss-related costs without going to trial.

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    Photograph 2

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