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Report: Man Burns Carpet With Static Shock

September 17, 2005 GMT

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Fire officials evacuated a building in southern Australia after a man triggered a massive shock of static electricity that caused burn marks in the carpet, a media report said Friday.

Fire officials in southern Victoria state said the man, Frank Clewer, had built up at least 30,000 volts of static electricity in his jacket simply by walking around the western city of Warrnambool, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

He received his first shock when he walked into a local business Thursday afternoon. ``It sounded almost like a firecracker or something like that,″ Clewer told the ABC. ``Within say around five minutes the carpet started to erupt.″

Burns about 0.79 inches in diameter were left on the carpet where he had been standing, the report said. ABC did not mention if Clewer was injured.

The Country Fire Authority evacuated the building, fearing the incident might trigger electrical problems in the building, but let Clewer go, the report said.

But when he got in his car, Clewer’s problems continued.

``I actually scorched a piece of plastic I had on the floor of the car,″ he said.

Fire officials took Clewer’s jacket and said it continued to give off voltage, the report said.

Calls to the Country Fire Authority rang unanswered Friday evening.