Most of the time your Office Cleaner is in and out of the building without you knowing it. Either they’ve been and gone long gone before you roll in with your coffee and croissant. Or, they appear mysteriously at night, patrolling the office as you make your way home.
Unless your name’s Frank Clewer that is.
Office Cleaner Frank Clewer certainly left his mark as the synthetic coat he was wearing to keep warm discharged 40,000 volts of static electricity and set fire to the carpet around him.
“It sounded like a firecracker or something like that,” the unfortunate Office Cleaner said. “Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt.”
Scientists confirmed that it’s not unprecedented for a human being to give off between 5,000 and 10,000 volts while walking across a floor and touching a door, but to generate 40,000 volts is unheard of. Scientist Karl Kruszelnicki said “This poor guy has built up static electricity thanks to an unfortunate combination of insulating clothes that he’s wearing. Synthetic clothes.”
Frank was on his way for an interview at a Cleaning Company when he gave off the electrostatic charge, firing off sparks and making a crackling sound, leaving scorch marks under foot and causing three buildings to be evacuated. Firemen were perplexed as to what had happened, the only possible explanation appeared to have been a power surge.
“There were several scorch marks in the carpet,” said fire official Henry Barton. “And we could hear a cracking noise – a bit like a whip – both inside and outside the building,”. Mr Barton added that the charge frank omitted was close to being high enough to cause him to spontaneously combust. “I’ve been fire fighting for over 35 year,” he said, “and I’ve never come across anything like this.”