Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bad Wiring Threatens Troops in Iraq

The military is inspecting more than 90,000 U.S.-run facilities across Iraq to reduce the threat to troops from electrocution or shock while showering or using appliances. Most of the problems relate to faulty electrical grounding. "About one-third of the inspections so far have turned up major electrical problems, according to interviews and an internal military document obtained by The Associated Press. Half of the problems they found have since been fixed but about 65,000 facilities still need to be inspected, which could take the rest of this year."

In January 2008, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh (pictured at right with his mother, Cheryl Harris), died while showering, one of at least three soldiers killed while showering since the Iraq invasion in 2003. Army investigators have reclassified Maseth’s death as negligent homicide caused by KBR, the Houston-based contractor that oversees maintenance at most U.S. facilities in Iraq, and two of the company's supervisors. "An Army investigator said KBR failed to ensure work was done by qualified electricians and plumbers." Read more.

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