Watch a car crash spark a spectacular electrical fire


Originally published at:


Now that’s not something you see every day.

BTW, is this even supposed to happen? I thought circuits had breakers?
Any EEE guys around that can competently comment on this?


The leftward-moving sparks resemble a horizontally oriented Jacob’s Ladder. I wonder if the same principle is in play here.


This makes my head and face tingle.


This is crazy! Perfect timing with the dark clouds behind the arcs. Dramatic!


And it even had a finale!


Yeah, remembrance of electrical sockets past for me, too.


[quote=“FGD135, post:2, topic:104471, full:true”]BTW, is this even supposed to happen?[/quote]No! That was an easy one. [quote=“FGD135, post:2, topic:104471, full:true”] I thought circuits had breakers?[/quote]Usually, yes. My experience isn’t on the utility side, but they do have their own protective systems in place to protect their equipment.

Breakers and fuses trip when a current level is maintained for a certain period of time (usually the higher the current the less time it has to be maintained to trip the device). It looks like in this case the arcing, while dramatic, reduced the current enough that it didn’t trip the protective device for a while, or until the arcing damaged enough insulation that a new arc started that exceeded the current level or time duration in order to trip the upstream device.


Apparently partially damaged utility poles are at least 5th level magic-users.


Ahh, the smell of fresh ozone in the morning!


“Jesus shit” is my new go-to exclamation.


That direct short is when the circuit breakers finally kicked in.

And yes, indirect shorts give a fabulous sound and light show but rarely cause enough load to trip a breaker, (especially if the normal load has gotten disconnected in the event).

That’s why we should STFA (Stay The Fuck Away) from downed lines. Until the utility shuts them off they are usually live!


I’m guessing that there was arcing between two different phases.
The current was heating the cables and burning through the lower cable until it broke and cut its circuit.
Nice high voltage but not necessarily an unduly high current throughput on the circuit for the breakers wherever they were, just enough to cut through the cable at that point. Then you see the broken cable fall and short other cables. It’s not clear a breaker is ever tripped.


Sign me up…

…er, uh…who’s pole around here do I have to hit?

And…points for landscape.


It certainly looks like one, but as far as I can tell it’s not. A Jacob’s Ladder works on the principle that the air is being heated and the rising air pushes the plasma upwards, isn’t it? Unless it’s just that the slight angle at which the pole was sitting gave enough room for hot air to work like that it has to be something else.


I’m not saying it was aliens, but…


“Yes, I’d like to return this Staff of Lightning Bolt, please.”


It was probably a build-up of Pokemon.


I think that must have been a Newfie visiting the mainland. For whatever reason every Newfoundlander I know prefaces every expletive with “Jesus.”

This also gives me an excuse to post the “French Lesson” scene from Bon Cop, Bad Cop, so I’ll take it.


Someone done woke up Zooce.
Or maybe Thor.

One of those guys.