1. #1
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    Default House Fires after a service connection?

    My elderly parents recently switched between Rogers and Bell (the two main service providers) in Ontario, Canada for their TV, Telephone and Internet connection for both their condo and the family cottage.

    It turns out that Bell could not provide internet service to the cottage location, and they went back to Rogers for the service.

    One of their customer service lines (Mom isn't sure if it was Bell or Rogers, as there were a multitude of frustrating telephone conversations with them both!) warned them to be careful, as sometimes when service is switched between the two a fire can result! (no I'm not kidding... I wish I were.)

    As it turns out, as they were waiting for Rogers to come back out to connect their internet, Mom smelled smoke from the computer loft. Sure enough, the wires were smoking and had started to char the carpet! She and dad unplugged everything and called the Fire Department, worried that as soon as they left the cottage to go home, another fire might start. The Fire Chief took pictures and listened to their story about the customer service rep who had predicted the fire, but didn't comment to them further.

    My husband has speculated that one of the service technicians may have unhooked a transformer without actually unplugging it, causing it to overheat and start the fire... Has anyone else ever heard of this? And who's responsibility would it have been if the results were more than just a bit of charred carpet? Does Bell or Rogers have any liability regarding this?

    Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.

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    Just to be clear, we're talking about telephone, TV, and internet service here. NOT ELECTRICAL UTILITY POWER?

    Do the two service providers have their own seperate lines out on the street? For example, up on the pole there is a set of wires for Rogers and a set of wires of Bell?

    If they each have their own lines, and some numbnuts technician from Bell connected their lines to your house without disconnecting Roger's lines that were already connected, this could easily create some electrical unhappiness in your home's phone/tv/data wires.

    Now with that said, I have never in a million years heard of the low votlage, low current twisted pair and coaxial cables catching on fire. And believe me, I've tried! But clearly these boneheads have found a way to do it concidering the customer service rep told you "oh by the way, this might make your house catch on fire", and then 5 minutes later it was on fire. Most intelligent companies and technicians alter their methods when it becomes known that the way they're doing it has a tendency to BURN DOWN THEIR CUSTOMER'S HOUSES.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkibark View Post
    My elderly parents recently switched between Rogers and Bell (the two main service providers) in Ontario, Canada for their TV, Telephone and Internet connection for both their condo and the family cottage.

    It turns out that Bell could not provide internet service to the cottage location, and they went back to Rogers for the service.

    One of their customer service lines (Mom isn't sure if it was Bell or Rogers, as there were a multitude of frustrating telephone conversations with them both!) warned them to be careful, as sometimes when service is switched between the two a fire can result! (no I'm not kidding... I wish I were.)

    As it turns out, as they were waiting for Rogers to come back out to connect their internet, Mom smelled smoke from the computer loft. Sure enough, the wires were smoking and had started to char the carpet! She and dad unplugged everything and called the Fire Department, worried that as soon as they left the cottage to go home, another fire might start. The Fire Chief took pictures and listened to their story about the customer service rep who had predicted the fire, but didn't comment to them further.

    My husband has speculated that one of the service technicians may have unhooked a transformer without actually unplugging it, causing it to overheat and start the fire... Has anyone else ever heard of this? And who's responsibility would it have been if the results were more than just a bit of charred carpet? Does Bell or Rogers have any liability regarding this?

    Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.


    You open an account and on the first post said this?

    I am with nmfire, as having been in this business the years I have, I have never seen tis happening from a low voltage line. Telephone wires, cable wires run all over the floor and behind the phone and or computer and never has one ever caught on fire.



    Probably and again I wasn't there, it sould like someone, Mom & Dad or the tech's used a power strip or some other electrical device that was bad and or shorted out.

    I have never heard any cable company saying "if you switch service a fire may start!"

    There is more to this story than what is orginally written.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Just to be clear, we're talking about telephone, TV, and internet service here. NOT ELECTRICAL UTILITY POWER?

    Do the two service providers have their own seperate lines out on the street? For example, up on the pole there is a set of wires for Rogers and a set of wires of Bell?

    If they each have their own lines, and some numbnuts technician from Bell connected their lines to your house without disconnecting Roger's lines that were already connected, this could easily create some electrical unhappiness in your home's phone/tv/data wires.

    Now with that said, I have never in a million years heard of the low votlage, low current twisted pair and coaxial cables catching on fire. And believe me, I've tried! But clearly these boneheads have found a way to do it concidering the customer service rep told you "oh by the way, this might make your house catch on fire", and then 5 minutes later it was on fire. Most intelligent companies and technicians alter their methods when it becomes known that the way they're doing it has a tendency to BURN DOWN THEIR CUSTOMER'S HOUSES.
    I have actually seen these low voltage lines "burn" once but in a different situation. I install lightning arrest blocks on all IP telephones at work as a safety precaution. Once, there was no lightning, one of the blocks shorted out (pretty much a defective block) and crossed the pair to melt at the wall jack. It scared a admin assistant to death when she saw the wall jack all brown and melted. Could this have caused a fire, possibly if this had occurred on a Friday and no one was there to smell it. The only thing I could think in the situation described is the technician crossed something in the box.

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    How was there enough juice in a piece of ethernet cable to melt anything? I've dealt with plenty of shorted POTS and data lines in my time and I've never seen it do ANYTHING but just stop functioning. No heat, melting, smoking, burning, fire, fireworks, etc. Most of the time, it doesn't even pop the fuse on the demarc or out in the cross box.

    Now lightning is another story. The station took a hit last summer. It hit the parking lot and entered an underground conduit it with phone, data, and fire alarm between the tower and the building. Fired everything that didn't have lightning arrestors on them and left a pretty neat smoking hole in the parking lot.
    Last edited by nmfire; 05-10-2010 at 02:31 PM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    How was there enough juice in a piece of ethernet cable to melt anything? I've dealt with plenty of shorted POTS and data lines in my time and I've never seen it do ANYTHING but just stop functioning. No heat, melting, smoking, burning, fire, fireworks, etc. Most of the time, it doesn't even pop the fuse on the demarc or out in the cross box.

    Now lightning is another story. The station took a hit last summer. It hit the parking lot and entered an underground conduit it with phone, data, and fire alarm between the tower and the building. Fired everything that didn't have lightning arrestors on them and left a pretty neat smoking hole in the parking lot.
    Given enough time they can melt. I have never seen them on fire, just one melted and giving off the melted plastic odor. There is 50 volts running through those lines, or at least through the FXS in which my lines were connected to. If they were switching between POTS and broadband service lines could be the issue. The provider may be utilizing PoE. The difference in amp is PoE uses 3 Amps, like my FXS, and POTS uses between 20 and 50 milliamps. If they would have hooked a standard telephone back into the jack while it was PoE then there could be issues. But my guess is if there would be a problem with the lines it would have shown immediately in switching to the broadband. Maybe their home lines were way old and had other issues. I am not sure how long the block I have may have been shorted. It was used for a fax that had been relocated to another room. It was within a 2 month window though since this occurred in January and the fax was working in that location in early November. But again there was no flames or even smoke.

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    Ah, well thats a little bumped up from typical ethernet 2-3 volts. All that extra jazz would probably make for some meltation.

    But none the less, a simple shorted POTS line or a piece of RG6 is not going to start burning and melt your carpet without some serious malfunction. What did these guys do, connect the phone line to the high side of the transformer up on the pole to watch the fireworks?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Yes it's my very first post here! I'm an interior designer, not a fire professional, but i'm glad there are so many of you out there and I'd like to thank you all for both your input to my concerns here and your service to your communities.

    I didn't speak to the service provider, my 78 year old mother did, but she's sharp as a tack and not prone to exaggerations, so I do believe her about what she heard the customer service rep say. And yes, it was all cable, telephone and computer cables, though there was also a wireless router that had a big black plug on it that I think is a transformer of sorts? And yes, to my knowledge, both companies have seperate lines running from the street into the house.

    I'm afraid I'm not very technical - and neither are my parents which is why they had the company do the install.

    Unfortunately, I didn't see the damage, though the Fire Chief took pictures apparently. By the time I was there a week later, it had been cleaned up and just a black scorch mark on the carpet was visible.

    Perhaps it's just a mystery or a fluke... but it certainly seemed odd enough to me to want to seek out professional opinions such as those I can find in a forum like this.

    Cheers from Ontario!
    Last edited by sharkibark; 05-10-2010 at 05:08 PM. Reason: missed answering a question from one of the responders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkibark View Post
    Unfortunately, I didn't see the damage, though the Fire Chief took pictures apparently. By the time I was there a week later, it had been cleaned up and just a black scorch mark on the carpet was visible.
    I wouldn't have touched a thing, and had it evaluated by an independent, third-party electrical underwriter. How do you know that nothing else in the house was damaged, or was damaged enough that future failure (including fire/heat/smoke) could happen?????????
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkibark View Post
    Perhaps it's just a mystery or a fluke...
    Clearly its not a fluke if the customer service rep said "hey by the way your house might catch on fire" and five minutes later there was smoke pouring off the wiring.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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