RALEIGH, N.C. — A pump failed and a breaker did not trip, causing electrical current to surge into a pool killing a Raleigh teen lifeguard earlier this month, officials said in a report released Monday.
Rachel Rosoff, 17, was found dead in the Heritage Point neighborhood pool and pulled from the water on Saturday, Sept. 3, officials say.
In 911 calls, at least one person said that the water was electrified and that they could not go into the pool to save Rosoff, who was a lifeguard at the pool.
Wake County officials released preliminary autopsy reports last week that confirmed Rosoff died after entering electrified water in the pool near 2226 Valley Forge Road.
Related info: Click here to read the full report from Wake County
“The preliminary autopsy results are consistent with the decedent entering the pool that had an electrical charge that may have rendered the decedent unconscious apparently leading to drowning,” Wake County officials said in a release.
On Monday afternoon, the Wake County Inspections Administrator, Gregory A. Vance, released a report about wiring at the pool, which was built in 1979.
In the report sent to the Wake County Sheriff, Vance detailed the pump wiring and electrical work performed since the pool was built.
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Vance said that the problem appeared to stem from a pump failing and a breaker not tripping, which would have stopped the electrical current.
Inspectors found an underground wire, original from when the pool was installed in 1979, that was problematic.
The wire, used to ground electricity from the pool pump motor to a circuit breaker, was corroded, and therefore useless.
Inspectors say the motor broke, and since electricity could not travel through the corroded wire to trip the breaker, it took another path into the pool water.
Instead “current then followed the only path available to it, the pool water, creating a voltage gradient across the pool and pool equipment,” the report, which included some photos, said.
State law requires public pools to be inspected at least one time each year. CBS North Carolina pulled the most recent inspections but didn’t find any major violations.
However, it turns out electrical inspections are not part of the yearly inspection. County officials said the only time the pool gets an electrical inspection is when it’s first built or when it’s renovated. The Heritage Point pool was built in 1979.
Electrocution deaths in a pool are very rare. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission only 14 deaths in a pool have been reported since 2003 in the entire country.