A Woodhaven Stamping Plant Tragic Death

The history of working men and women and their jobs is a part of any communities heritage.  Monroe has a stable skilled workforce.  Many area-working citizens belong to trade associations and labor unions.  Many law enforcement, public safety and municipal workers belong to unions.

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Al Kish was a good worker.  His specialty was control voltages on presses and especially electronic devices.  He had no experience at medium voltage power distribution such as the 13,600-volt three-phase "Y" system that killed him.  Al, a foreperson, and another electrician were assigned to change a current transformer on the S&C disconnect buss on a 3,500 horsepower compressor motor.  Those who were supposed to be helping him were taking their ease in the coffee break area.  Al locked out the number three panel and removed the rear cover from the cover painted number three which was indeed number four out of seven.

Al is considered to have taken a test lead to see of a spark was drawn when he touched one of the three buss bars.  You must understand that Al had no training and Ford had no safety equipment.  What happen next is somewhat clear and death was essentially instantaneous.  His head was wedged between two of the buss bars.

Electrician and fellow radio ham Lee Pennington K8OVJ called me from work to tell me and I felt sick at once.  I said "Lee where was not enough fault current to take a fuse was there.  Lee said no Dave as he cried.  I said My God, how long did he burn.  Lee said about 45 minutes because the buss was fed from two ends and no one could find the keys to unlock the main breakers.  Every few minutes someone would enter the area and discharge a large dry chemical fire extinguisher.  Yes, grown men should cry and it helps a little.


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