Hillsborough man's electrocution in Palm Spings pool raises safety concerns

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Authorities want to know what caused an electrical short in a Palm Springs pool that killed a Silicon Valley tech executive Easter Sunday. There may also be a lesson for many people in this tragedy. (KGO-TV)

Authorities want to know what caused an electrical short in a Palm Springs pool that killed a Silicon Valley tech executive Easter Sunday.

There may also be a lesson for many people in this tragedy. Owning a pool could pose a danger that people rarely consider.

Clare Langford runs Contra Costa Pool Center, a large pool service company in the East Bay. Langford says his industry pays attention to the dangers of electrocution. He said there's no way to tell if a pool is electrified.

The cause could be a faulty motor, a wet junction box and certainly, a light. If there are cracks water can get inside.

"Well it has a gasket that seals it properly so water won't get inside the fixture," Langford said. He said it can leak after time. "After a time it goes bad. It's rubber."

It's still uncertain what killed Jim Tramel of Hillsborough. What's known is that he was rescuing his daughter from the pool of their Palm Springs vacation home.

Police blame bad wiring. A ground fault interrupter, automatic circuit breaker might have prevented his death. Jim Parlette, who builds and restores pools for a living, is continually amazed that many pools do not have them, in violation of building codes.

"I am surprised more people have not been electrocuted in the country because of pools not being grounded," Parlette said. He said he believes it's still a problem.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, 14 Americans died from electrocutions in pools from 2003 to 20014. Now, add another.
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