We were using an auger one day to install light poles at a local hotel when we hit an unmarked water line about 3-feet deep. After contacting the owner's representative, he said not to worry about it. According to him, it was an abandoned line, and we were just getting the water that was left in the pipe. We moved on, waiting for the water to drain away, and went on installing poles. After about an hour, I went back to the spot and found water still bubbling out of the ground. When I contacted him again, he started to share my concern. After another 30 minutes or so, he came to me and said we had cut the old feed line to the hotel's cooling tower — and that it would surely stop soon because the cooling tower system was almost dry. It seems they had run new lines years ago, and someone had forgotten to cap the old line off. At any rate, the hotel became very hot over the next few hours until the pipe was capped at the cooling plant and refilled with water.
Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Talk Isn't So Cheap
I was working at a large construction site in the Baltimore area one day when a Maryland Occupation Safety and Health (MOSH) representative paid us a visit for a routine safety inspection. The only problem the electrical inspector found was that a breaker space was left open in a construction sub-panel. He advised us to correct it ASAP. Unfortunately, a coworker standing nearby practically hollered, “If some SOB is dumb enough to stick his finger in there, he deserves to get shocked!” The inspector failed to see this wisdom, and went from advising to writing to eventually fining. Lesson learned: Know when to keep your mouth shut.
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Illustrations by Clint Metcalf