Legacy Cable Called a Fire Risk

By Deane Barker on December 5, 2003

Leftover cable, wires called growing fire danger: Huh. The things those lawmakers sit around and think up…

A little-known legacy of the high-tech boom — the massive accumulation of old computer, fax, phone and other cable and wiring in building ceilings and floors — poses a huge fire danger, experts say.

An estimated 45 billion feet of such low-voltage cable has piled up, layer upon layer. That’s nine times as much as existed a decade ago and enough to circle the globe 340 times. That’s why California and a number of other states have adopted a new electrical code that will require most unused cable to be removed when new cable is installed or the structure undergoes significant renovations.