Two men electrocuted in lighting substation

TWO MEN who were electrocuted in a substation belonging to the Detroit Public Lighting Department were intent on copper theft, police have speculated.

The deaths on Friday again raise the issue of security at lighting and electrical installations around the world as copper prices soar. The intruders - whose unidentified and charred bodies were fused together by the power of the current – are believed to have received a shock of up to 24kV from one of the busbar conductors at the site.

The substation at the junction of Raymond and Harper Avenues in Detroit, where the two men died.

Lighting engineer Jonathan Smith said the substation consisted of incoming primary transmission feeders directly from the power plant, and would have had exposed high-tension components.

‘The only reason they would be in there is if they were stealing something,’ Dave Fornell, deputy fire commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department told the Detroit News, which broke the story. ‘A substation is a maze of wires and open conductors and that type of thing.’

The deaths have highlighted the vulnerability of unprotected electrical installations. Across the world, copper theft is becoming a major issue as the power to railways, port and factories become disrupted. The price of copper has risen by 32 per cent in the last two years to $7,200 per tonne, creating a lucrative black market.

Main pic: copyright Thomas Hawk 2017



Comments 5

No, I would not. Bill here the issue. That substation is 60 plus years old, I know because I grew up in that neighborhood. My friends and I would pass by almost every weekend. We were always fascinated by the power and the hum coming from the building, yet at eight years old we had the common sense to understand: 1) DANGER signs are there for a reason. 2)We had no right to be on / in property that did not belong to us. Of course this was in the early 60's. Phil Simmons Operations Manager / General Foreman Great Lakes Power and Equipment

All valid points but would you feel a bit different if you come to find out they were 14 year old kids. I do not condone thievery but many factors drive people to do stupid things, loss of job, drug addiction mental illness just to name a few. Our country needs to get its shit together and work on underlying causes.

This story needs to be well publicized by print and tv media. It could even be made into a PSA (Public Service Announcement). I have absolutely no sympathy for these two individuals. A PSA would educate the pubic on why this is not a good idea and what happens when someone is dumb enough to try it. At least these two won’t be repeat offenders!

It is unfortunate that those fried individuals died like that, but there may be some good coming of it if others learn that the contents of the substations are really deadly. So the news media could do all of society a favor if they spread that message. And just like P.S. stated, all of the substations are well secured, nobody can wander in by accident. To get in they had to break a serious lock and defeat a heavy duty latching mechanism. And the outdoor substations are protected by an 8 foot high chain link fence with serious razor wire on top, and also an effective system to prevent entry below the fence. It would take a fair amount of time and effort to break into any of the substations.

Well you need to get all the facts before reporting. There are numerous subs in the city and all are secured. The lowlifes pried the door open at this location. I have no sympathy for any thief whose activity gets them killed.

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