Not mine, really. Just where I work. I did it. It blew up because of something I did.
FIRST, PICTURE THIS IN A RESTAURANT KITCHEN:
One of those half-wall setups (about 5’ high) with a hot-line on both sides of it. Cooking equipment on both sides, under a common hood. Electric, gas and steam heated equipment. All three energy sources pass through that wall.
The half-wall was once just a tile wall (still there underneath) which got upgraded with a stainless-steel skin and top-cap a few years ago for sanitation purposes.
A Blodgett oven I was working is located at the end of the cook line on one side of that wall. A 115v outlet for it was a whole arm’s length away as I reached behind the oven to unplug it. I nearly had to rest my chin on the wall to reach the outlet.
WITH THAT WORD-PICTURE in mind, here’s what happened:
SO…I unplugged a Blodgett gas convection oven I was working on. I did NOT turn it off before unplugging it. That just didn’t seem like a big thing at the time. It became so, though.
With that Blodgett oven still drawing amperage (to run its blower motor and heating system), a small arc naturally occurred within the outlet. A tiny one. One not too different from…say - unplugging a TV while it’s still on.
When I unplugged it…
In a fleeting second, the wall’s stainless-steel top-cap BLEW up as the vertical skin of the wall BLASTED out.
THEN….it was over.
My ears were ringing as I suddenly found myself trying to assess what had just happened.
WHAT THE #$@% JUST HAPPENED!!!
Kitchen staff rushed in from all directions asking “WHAT HAPPENED!” My ears were still ringing as they all asked me if I was “okay”.
I was okay, as I tried to take the moment in…while observing a fog of dust emanating from within a newly opened, one-inch crevasse that once was just a seam in the wall.
WHAT DID I JUST DO?
NOW…to make a long story short:
I made a phone call to my boss that I just blew up a wall, we’re all okay and there’s no fire.
He shows up, assesses it all…and made more phone calls. Upper management shows up. More folks show up. EVERYONE SHOWS UP!
I shut off the gas. Electricians shut down all the power in that wall.
Next, we all agreed to move out all the cooking equipment (six ovens, two ranges, two fryers and other stuff). With that out of the way, we found a distinct, lingering smell of mercaptan (signs of a gas leak, but gas was OFF) from within an opening in the wall.
Before the afternoon ended, an outside contractor was set up to tear out the wall, replace all the internal gas pipes and put it all back together again.
We’re hoping that THAT section of the kitchen can be returned to service by next week. Meanwhile, the restaurant somewhat handicapped for losing use of that portion of their kitchen.
DEFINITELY not my normal work day!