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I think I might have dodged a bullet... - Happy's Obsession
or what I do between bouts of Real Life
I think I might have dodged a bullet...
I tend to like the house warmer than the SO, and have a parabolic heater set up to direct heat to me on the couch, while it leaves the SO relatively untouched. I had it plugged into an outlet with 2 other lamps, using a regular brown, 2 prong extension cord (because my house doesn't have 3 prong, grounded outlets, only those 2 prong directional plugs).

It was late, the SO was asleep, and I was heading to bed. When I go to bed, I turn the heater off, and unplug it, because I had noticed previously that the extension cord female receptacle end was getting hot with use. I know, I know... means it's probably not a heavy duty enough cord, but I just use it a few hours a night, and we have the plug problem...


My hands were full, so instead of picking up the cord and unplugging it using both hands (as I always do), I just set down stuff in one hand, put my Ugg slippered foot against the extension cord head on the floor, and attempted to wiggle the heater plug out of the extension receptacle. I was pulling on the one cord, bracing the other against the floor with my slippered foot. But it didn't want to come out, it pulled partially to the side, but still plugged in. So I reached over with one of the fingers that was pulling the cord, braced it on the extension cord, and pushed harder to get the prongs out.

What followed was a huge flash of light, many sparks, and the smell of something burning and melting.

Of course, I threw the cord when it did this, and jumped back. Doing so had pulled them the rest of the way apart. I looked at the floor... and there was a huge black scorch mark on the hardwoods, where the extension head had been pressed to the floor and along where it's cord was for about 6 inches. The extension cord head was partially melted and blackened where the wires leave it, and the bottom of my slipper (& the sheepskin where my toe was holding it down)? Scorched.

I checked the wall outlet, it was fine. I got a scrub pad and cleaned up the soot from the floor, noticing that there were 3 burn patches, one a very small, very deep point, the other two larger (about 1" square), but more shallow. On those areas, it's more scorched, doesn't look as "charred" as the small deep one.

So I'm wondering... do I have my Uggs, and the fact that my hands were full & I had the extension cord on the ground instead of held between my two hands (as would be usual) to keep from getting shocked to hell & back? The SO was asleep, didn't wake up when I came in, so if something bad had happened (and I didn't make a lot of noise doing it), I probably would have had no one notice anything until morning, and if it was an electrocution? Not a good thing.

Or is household current just enough to hurt you some, but not kill you?

I shiver when I think of the burns to the hardwood floor (and the soles of my Uggs), and imagine what that heat/electricity would have done to my hands...
7 Voices or Sing to Me
severina2001 From: severina2001 Date: March 21st, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeek. Well, I know sometimes (stupid) kids stick forks in outlets and I don't think they die from it or anything, but I guess it would depend on...stuff that I don't understand even at all. I'm glad you're okay!
quinn222 From: quinn222 Date: March 21st, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
You were very lucky. 110 volts is enough to do you some serious harm. *hugs*
mi_nion From: mi_nion Date: March 21st, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
You were lucky. Either ground that socket or don't overload it.
Be careful.
nola_nola From: nola_nola Date: March 21st, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, if it doesn't have a ground wire, you can buy a um...I don't know what you call it. LOL Like a power bar, but it has a ground thing in it, so it will sever the connection. Hair dryers and stuff you use in the bathroom often have them build into the part you plug into the wall.
From: damietta Date: March 21st, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Next time you save a little money you should have an electrician in to put some ground fault circuit.

A "GFCI" is a ground fault circuit interrupter. A ground fault circuit interrupter is an inexpensive electrical device that, if installed in household branch circuits, could prevent over two-thirds of the approximately 300 electrocutions still occurring each year in and around the home. Installation of the device could also prevent thousands of burn and electric shock injuries each year.

We want you safe and we want you around for a long time.
rapunzel50 From: rapunzel50 Date: March 21st, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agh scary - electricity is one thing you can't fiddle with. Think it is time you bought a lottery ticket!
Glad you are OK *hugs*
sandid From: sandid Date: March 22nd, 2008 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
phewwwwwwwwwwwwww, I'm glad you didn't get burned.

Lucky, you.....

I was mildly shocked once. I'll never forget that feeling. Nope, it doesn't feel good.
7 Voices or Sing to Me