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Life is not about getting to the destination, life is what happens to you on the way there. 

Friday, September 16, 2005


Man Ignites Carpet Using Only His Clothing

(I copied and pasted the whole article here because this is one article I want to remember. Completely surreal. Click here for the original)

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building. Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.


Blogger Cate said...

Wow, talk about a rug burn!

Do you think that's why sheep don't wear nylon hosiery?

9/17/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger john said...

thank you thank you thank you thank you! this gave me just the laugh i needed today!!!!

ps: if you can't find Garbage Land in your library I'd be more than happy to lend you my copy... shouldn't be too much $$ to send it down to you at the us postal service book rate... :)

9/17/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Karry said...

Thanks for the offer John! I just finished my last library book today so I will need to go back there tomorrow sometime. They had Joshilyn Jackson's novel "gods in Alabama" which surprised me (good read by the way, but not for the faint of heart) so I will ask about GarbageLand.

9/18/2005 07:58:00 PM  

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