Friday, July 25 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:23:10 GMT
A sheriff's deputy in training now accused of a nearly year-old deadly hit and run suddenly stopped driving his pick-up truck sometime last year, neighbors say. Hunter Queen, 24, is locked up in the ShelbyMore >>
A sheriff's deputy recruit accused of a hit-and-run accident that happened nearly one year ago, suddenly stopped driving his pick-up truck sometime last year, neighbors say. More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:19:19 GMT
(WMC) - A proposal could force drivers to pay for using Interstate 40 in Arkansas. State leaders are considering setting up tolls. The tolls would help fund an I-40 expansion project from West MemphisMore >>
A proposal could force drivers to pay for using Interstate 40 in Arkansas. State leaders are considering setting up tolls.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:08:50 GMT
(WMC) - Memphis police crews are responding to a crash on Interstate 240 near Millbranch Road. Two vehicles and a bus are involved. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation smart map,More >>
Memphis police crews responded to a crash on Interstate 240 near Millbranch Road on Friday afternoon. More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 6:44 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:44:32 GMT
(WMC) – The funeral home where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s body was prepared after his assassination is celebrating 100 years. R.S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home, located on Vance Avenue, does muchMore >>
The funeral home where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s body was prepared after his assassination is celebrating 100 years.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - Circuit breakers and panels that are potential fire hazards remain in millions of homes nationwide, even though both government and private lab tests have confirmed the devices can be defective.
The now-defunct Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) company manufactured circuit breakers and panels from the 1950s through the 1980s. Like all circuit breakers, they are supposed to 'trip' and shut down an electrical current when they are overloaded.
He purposely overloaded a 30-amp double-pole breaker with 43 amps of power from four space heaters. For both safety and test purposes, he also ran the power through a back-up breaker panel, designed by another manufacturer.
A half-dozen times -- after several minutes of overheating -- the back-up breaker tripped, but each time, the FPE breaker failed to trip the overloaded wire.
"Eventually, that wire is going to heat up and burn up," Harmeier said. "They're not tripping, and I wouldn't want them in my home."
Investigative reports from local news stations all over the country -- San Francisco to New York, East Texas to Orlando -- have pinned an untold number of house fires on FPE's breakers and panels, particularly its Stab-Lok breakers.
Records from the Tennessee Division of Fire Prevention revealed from 2012 through 2013, 13 house fires in Shelby County -- including Whitehaven, Shelby Forrest, Millington and Parkway Village -- started at their circuit breaker panels.
But Shelby County's fire marshal said it's virtually impossible to determine if any of those panels were FPE panels.
"Normally, it is so badly damaged that we are unable to determine what panel it actually was," said Shelby Co. Fire Marshal Jake Haley.
In the 1980s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted its own tests of FPE circuit breakers and panels. According to a report by Jesse Aronstein, an engineer who consulted with the agency, the CPSC's tests "...found that 85% of the double-pole breakers and 39% of the single-pole breakers failed one or more of the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) test criteria."
Aronstein's report determined FPE's Stab-Lok panels "...are failure-prone due to marginal interconnections between the current-carrying components. The failing interconnections overheat at high current loading, and, in the worst case, fire ignites within the panel...their defective circuit breakers remain today in millions of homes, presenting an increased risk of fire and injury."
But in a news release dated March 3, 1983, the CPSC stated it would not recommend a recall of the panels because it "...was unable at this time to link these failures to the development of a hazardous situation."
"The Commission staff estimates that it would cost several million dollars to gather the data necessary to assess fully whether those circuit breakers that are installed in homes but which may fail UL calibration tests present a risk to the public," the release read.
In 2002, a New Jersey superior court judge ruled in a civil action that "...FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL standards."
"FPE cheated on the tests that were required to obtain and maintain UL listings," said Aronstein in his report. "Virtually every FPE Stab-Lok panel installed in homes today contains circuit breakers that are seriously defective."
An attorney for FPE at the time of the litigation did not respond to either a phone message or an e-mail requesting comment.
"It is very hard to believe there were that many defective breakers found," said Shelby County Electrical Code Board Chairman Jay Weatherington, a 60-year master electrician and owner of A/C Electric Co. in Memphis.
In six decades of servicing Mid-South homes, Weatherington said he's never experienced a problem with FPE breakers or panels.
"Your breaker panel is just like your automobile," he said. "It's like anything else. You've got to do maintenance and take care of your equipment, or it will deteriorate."
Even so, Bennita Wade, a Memphis independent insurance agent, said FPE's reputation is such that some insurance companies will not cover homes that have its circuit breakers. She said insurance companies will often dispatch someone to inspect the breaker panel before writing a homeowner's insurance policy.
"This is something we do not write. We won't cover these," Wade said. "There is no amount of verification from anybody that will get you coverage on this particular breaker.
"This is something that should be paramount in every homeowner's mind."
WMC Action News 5 recommends you check your home's circuit breaker panel, especially if your home was built before 1990.
Look for Federal Pacific Electric logos or labels -- and orange-red tabs on the breaker switches.
At the very least, consider having an electrician from a licensed electrical company inspect your breaker panel. In Tennessee, electrical companies are required to have only one licensed master electrician on staff. Companies' licenses can be verified here.
In Mississippi, research licensed electricians here.
Thursday, July 24 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:04:58 GMT
The victim of a vicious gang rape is warning other women in the metro area. The victim and her attorney talked about the attack exclusively with WLBT. The 35-year-old woman, whose identity we are protecting,More >>
The victim, whose identity we are protecting, said, "He put the gun to my head and told me to take my clothes off. And that's when I couldn't do nothing. I was just standing there crying. And the other dude came from behind the truck. He put one in my side. And they bent me over in my front seat and they started raping me over and over again." More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:19:10 GMT
(WMC) – A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. As a result, the following 12 people were arrested: Preston K. Mitchell, 52, Memphis, Tenn., charged with procuring prostitutionMore >>
A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. Twelve people were arrested.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:25:53 GMT
Police planned Friday to present their case to prosecutors on whether charges should be filed against an 80-year-old man who fatally shot of one of two burglars who attacked him when he found them ransacking his home.More >>
Prosecutors were waiting Friday for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-07-25 15:12:23 GMT
(WMC) - A Memphis home for the elderly is under scrutiny after two incidents involving residents happened within two days this week. Tonight, one of them remains missing. The other resident is hospitalized. TheMore >>
A Memphis home for the elderly is under scrutiny after two incidents involving residents happened within two days this week.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:49 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:49:54 GMT
(WMC) – It's Freebie Friday and WMC Action News 5's Lindsey Brown found a ton of freebies this week from museums, movies, to moves on the dance floor! Back-to-school haircuts As the kids get closer toMore >>
It's Freebie Friday and WMC Action News 5's Lindsey Brown found a ton of freebies this week from museums, movies, to moves on the dance floor!More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:01 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:01:23 GMT
(WMC) - Memphis police took a Shelby County Sheriff's deputy recruit into custody Thursday afternoon at a training academy. Hunter Queen, 24, was booked into jail around 4 p.m., but his charges remainMore >>
Memphis police arrested a deputy recruit at the Shelby County sheriff's training academy Thursday after an investigation revealed he could be the driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run. More >>