My father let me use his Mercedes diesel while I was running for county treasurer in 1966 and after I was elected. (He went through both a Cadillac and a Mercedes stage.)
To make sure the underpowered 190D started after cold nights in our detached garage, we plugged an electric cord running from the block into an extension cord.
During really cold days, I’d run an extension cord out from my ground floor office to the car, which was parked with the other elected officials’ cars behind the old courthouse on the Woodstock Square.
The delinquent personal property collection operation was located in the basement’s southwest corner right in front of the car’s parking space.
Marge Rom once did an expose in her Crystal Lake News about how I was stealing electricity from the courthouse.
Picture and all.
This is an overly long way of relating that I know that diesels have to be kept warm in order to start on cold days.
Even Metra now plugs in its diesel engines, rather than running them all night as they did when I lived within sight of the old police and fire station and, hence, within earshot of the engines parked all night on the main line sidings.
A District 158 bus driver was apparently seriously injured some days ago while making a similar effort to keep a bus engine block warm.
Information I have received indicates that the electric shock was bad enough to turn the bus driver’s hand black.
The event happened in the District 158 bus yard right next to the administration building.
Each bus driver hooks up to an electrical connection so the diesel engine in his or her bus will start in the morning.
Normally there is a circuit breaker that would sense, trip and shut off when a dangerous voltage condition is detected. You have something similar in your bathroom and kitchen if you have a newer home or a re-wired one.
Of course it really helps if the circuit breaker, which I’m told is known as a “GFI” breaker, doesn’t malfunction.
Details are sketchy.
Superintendent John Burkey hasn’t informed the Board of Education about the accident, even though the bus driver is apparently still in the hospital.
Many days after the accident.
There’s a rumor that a whole lot of installed, but malfunctioning GFI circuit breakers were being replaced on Tuesday night.
October 10, 2007, someone wrote under a Northwest Herald story that Glenn Stewart, District 158′s Chief Operating Officer, was a mechanical engineer and Doug Renkosik, who is in charge of Building and Grounds, was a civil engineer.
Even if they aren’t professionally so trained, it would seem just about anyone would think that having bus drivers pick up live electrical outlets that have been on the ground in wet conditions could be a bit dangerous.
Maybe OSHA should or will weigh in on the issue.
I wonder if anyone has notified that federal occupational safety agency.
OSHA or the Huntley School District’s insurance carrier or even District 158′s risk manager, if indeed the district has one, might provide some on-site training for whoever should have made certain that the electrical cords were safe.
I wonder if the bus driver has an attorney yet. Goodness knows I am not a lawyer, but the word “negligent” pops into my head for some reason.
And I wonder if any or all of the defective GFI breakers in District 158 that get replaced were tossed away. It seems so strange that a whole group of GFI breakers would all of a sudden start malfunctioning at the same time.
Might they be kept as evidence to try to prove it wasn’t the school district’s fault?
If the electrical hook-ups to the buses in Huntley were similar to the ones I’ve been told about in the Woodstock school district, perhaps this injury could have been avoided.
I wonder if any of the District 158 workers warned management of the hazardous work condition.
I wonder if any record exists of that warning.
Surely no emails about the problem have been deleted.