Employees injured in on-campus electrical accident

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    The attribution in this story was corrected at 2:30 p.m. April 10.

    Two physical plant employees suffered minor injuries Wednesday morning in an electrical accident in the basement of Tandy Hall, a Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman said.

    Lt. Kent Worley, a Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman, said one employee suffered a burn on his right arm, and the other employee hurt his knee when he jumped back.

    The employee who injured himself while backing away was treated and released, and the other employee is still being treated at a local hospital as of late Wednesday, said Tracy Syler-Jones, associate vice chancellor for marketing and communication.

    Syler-Jones wouldn’t release the employees’ names for privacy reasons and university officials declined to give more details until TCU Police files an official report of the accident.

    “TCU has hired an independent company to assess the cause of the electrical short,” Syler-Jones wrote in an e-mail.

    Worley said there was a power outage in Tandy Hall before the accident. The employees were working on the backup generator in the building’s basement when the accident happened, he said.

    The power outage in Tandy Hall and the adjoining Dan Rogers Hall lasted from about 8:40 a.m. to 11 a.m., said Mark Muller, assistant dean of finance and administration for the Neeley School of Business. Muller said some classes were moved to Smith Hall, except for a class requiring a computer lab, which was canceled.

    Worley said the employees’ injuries were possibly caused by a flash burn or an electric arc flash. The accident didn’t result in any more damage, he said.

    An electrical short circuit occurs when two wires touch the ground or each other, producing a surge in electric current, said Mike Madrid, a licensed electrician at Royal Electric Co. in California. The short circuit may cause an electric arc flash, which Madrid described as a brief explosion that releases a large amount of heat energy.

    “It’s basically a miniature version of lightning,” he said.

    Madrid said the term “flash burn” describes a burn caused by the heat released by the explosion.

    Staff reporters Anna Hodges and Robert Bember contributed to this report.