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Residential Lightning Fires in the USA

Date: Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Location: SRP Information Services Building (ISB), 1600 N Priest Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

Speaker: Dr. Michael Stringfellow, PowerCET

Topic: "Residential Lightning Fires in the USA"

Newly available data shows that the majority of lightning-caused fires in the USA likely originate in the electrical power system. These electrical fires are the result of flashover caused by direct lightning strikes, often entering through ungrounded roof penetrations, and from electromagnetic induction from nearby strikes. Surge protection, where installed, focuses on the service entrance as being the major entrance point for overvoltages and overcurrents, whereas lightning overvoltages are severest in the attic or roof space. The author concludes that the absence of lightning protection in the majority of residences in the USA and omissions in the electrical code of requirements for grounding and bonding of services are largely to blame.

Speaker Bio:
Prior to joining PowerCET, Dr. Stringfellow held the positions of Chief Scientist and Director of Research for EFI Corporation. Other experiences include 9 years with the Electric Supply Commission (Eskom) in South Africa, and work with Kearney National and Atlantic Scientific Corporation. His research has focused on lightning surges and their impact on commercial and industrial facilities, and utility transmission and distribution systems. Dr. Stringfellow has published numerous articles and research papers during his distinguished career. He is a member of IEEE and is an active member on several committees. He earned a B.S. Honors Degree in Physics from the University of London and his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Electricity from University of Durham.