UPDATE: Inspections Not Required on Dock Where Electrocution Occurred

4 years 5 months 5 days ago July 05, 2012 Jul 5, 2012 Thursday, July 05 2012 Thursday, July 05, 2012 2:45:00 PM CDT in News
By: Mary McGuire and Matt Noonan
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MORGAN COUNTY - Authorities said Thursday the dock where two children were electrocuted Wednesday is in an area not subject to regular inspections for safety.

13-year-old Alexandra Anderson and her 8-year-old brother Brayden Anderson were electrocuted while swimming near a private dock close to the 6.5 mile marker of the Gravois Arm on the Lake of the Ozarks.

An autopsy was planned for Thursday on the bodies of the two children who were electrocuted. The Missouri State Highway Patrol also continued to interview witnesses to the electrocution.

The highway patrol said improper wiring led to the accident. The dock in question was not ground fault protected. The incident sheds light on the issue of dock safety. Electrical devices like boat lifts and water pumps can conduct electricity if improperly wired.

Ameren Missouri issues boat dock permits in the state of Missouri, but local fire departments are in charge of inspecting the electrical wiring.

"There are about 1100 miles of shoreline at the Lake of the Ozarks. Some people put in docks without permits and install electrical wiring without electrical knowledge," said Mark Jordan, Managing Supervisor of Ameren Missouri's Dept. of Real Estate.

The Lake of the Ozarks encompasses three Missouri counties: Camden, Miller, and Morgan. Each county has different rules and regulations when it comes to electrical dock regulation.

The incident took place under the jurisdiction of the Moreau Fire Department in Eldon, MO.

According to Fire Marshall Adam J. Rohwer of nearby Rocky Mount Fire Department, residents in the Moreau Fire Department have no laws or ordinances that require electrical dock wiring to be checked by the fire department.That means even if the fire department recognizes a violation, it cannot issue a ticket or a fine. However, if a citizen wishes to sell the property, he or she must then have the dock inspected by the fire department.

"(The) big problem is that people are trying to save money by installing their own docks, but they don't realize that they aren't saving themselves money, they are costing themselves money, because they don't know what they are doing. A lot of them use Romex wires, which aren't allowed. You need to use single stranded wires. Everything needs to be in conduit, everything has to be suited for a wet location," said Rohwer.

"A dock is not the same as a house," said Rohwer.

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