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What was the worst job site you ever went to?

RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
Dan Foleys pic of the snake on the job site made me think about some of my worst jobs. I would love hearing what your worst job site was. Mine was at a no heat call about 10:00pm in a very dangerous section of town on a bitter cold night. They opened the door and three huge guys were seated on the couch with pistols. One used his pistol to point me to the basement door. They were telling me I better get the heat going. Now they were joking I think but my heart was beating like a Tell Tale Heart by Poe. I went to the basement and there was a table there with two more guns and boxes of ammo.I found the furnace and saw it was the flame rod. I cleaned it and got out of there as fast as I could. I lost ten years from my life that night
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,767
    Did they pay you in cash??
    Bills that had been rolled up tight as small as a drinking straw? B)
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,186
    I've been on some nasty jobs, dirty, etc., but I call 'em worst depending on the people, not the place.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
    Jughne No the landlord paid me but they asked me for my card in case it went out again. I was scared to death.
    Ratio my worst job was servicing the boiler in a dog food factory. After the service call, all the dogs in the neighborhood followed me around
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    My worst job was the one I went on and the rich **** never paid me....But I learned a very valuable lesson, as to why the rich are rich.....in money anyway..
    MilanDRomanGK_26986764589
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,767
    This was not the worst job site but it turned into one of the worst situations.
    Small feeder pig barn with floor slats over manure pit.
    Changing fan Tstat and knocked my glasses off and they fell into the pit. I could not even drive back into town as my eyesight is like 20/200 or so.
    Tried fishing with wire but no luck. Finally took my shirt off, laid down on the slats and put the arm into the sludge. This pit was less than 30" deep. Eventually did find them and was grateful there was a garden hose outside.
    It was the typical hog barn site.....you go there for the last job of the day....bring in minimal tools....undress outside at home.

    Have not worked in these barns for maybe 20 years or so. Wouldn't go back. But was something you just did back then.
    MilanD
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,221
    JUGHNE said:

    This was not the worst job site but it turned into one of the worst situations.
    Small feeder pig barn with floor slats over manure pit.
    Changing fan Tstat and knocked my glasses off and they fell into the pit. I could not even drive back into town as my eyesight is like 20/200 or so.
    Tried fishing with wire but no luck. Finally took my shirt off, laid down on the slats and put the arm into the sludge. This pit was less than 30" deep. Eventually did find them and was grateful there was a garden hose outside.
    It was the typical hog barn site.....you go there for the last job of the day....bring in minimal tools....undress outside at home.

    Have not worked in these barns for maybe 20 years or so. Wouldn't go back. But was something you just did back then.

    I'll one up you.

    I spent several quality days repairing ventilation fans in a chicken barn pit. One of those layer barns that hold 120,000 or so chickens. The barn was full of chickens and the 9' deep pit had a 2' to 3' accumulation of dodo. It was mostly crusted over allowing me to walk over it, but quite frequently i would break through and have chicken dodo up to my thighs. Plus it was raining dodo from above. 120,000 bums all pointed in my direction it seemed.

    I did my time. Someone else's turn now.
    JUGHNErick in AlaskaMilanDkcopp
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,767
    When you see what confinement livestock consumes.....second hand feed and each other..... :o
    We buy open range fed meats and eggs when possible.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
    Jughne and Harvey, You beat me. Either job site would have made me question my career choice. LOL
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    MilanD
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 319
    I was a telco tech for 30 years and was exposed to some of the same awful working conditions from time to time. Harvey's chicken pit story reminded me of when a rural telco pedestal was run over and destroyed by the farmers manure spreader. The manure was from the nearby egg producers farms. This area smelled so bad at times it was hard enough to drive thru without breathing let alone spending two hours sitting in it while splicing manure covered wiring. YIPPEEE
    I've seen telephones that quit ringing because the cockroaches packed in the phone so tight the clapper couldn't move.
    Working in attics and crawl spaces with a pair of little eyes in a dark corner reflecting back at you.
    The cat lady's house. yechhhhh, just yechhhhhh
    What appeared to be a dirt floor basement that was really a concrete floor covered with layers of dog poop and old laundry.
    Then there's the hoarders. Hard to chase interior wiring problems when you can't access jacks and IW. Sometimes they just refuse to let you in and that was OK with me too.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,767
    The advantage of being a self employed contractor is that you can avoid those places you mentioned.
    I would consult with the Telco repair man if I was not sure of what I might step into (literally).
    Telco and cable installers have little choice for where they work. The company sends them and that is the job.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
    Flat twin that would be disgusting. Hoping you got hazard pay
    Jughne I agree I am getting more picky of the places I service now.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Had a no heat call. Couldnt find the address. Called dispatch who advised to roll my window down and sniff. When my nose crinkled I was there. The house was 50ft off the main rd. The gentleman (cough) met me at the door in his briefs and a bathrobe. She was at the kitchen table in the same attire, with rolls to the floor. The house was filled to the ceiling with garbage. I fixed the furnace in about 15 minutes, while wearing a face mask and gloves and ran. When I mentioned to my office that they were the ugliest husband and wife I'd ever seen, I was informed it was brother/sister and part of an inbred family....
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 547
    Here are two for now:
    1. Multifamily residential house with two blown steam boilers, no heat during a brutally cold winter in bad neighborhood. Entire extended family was down south for Grandpa's funeral . They gave us the keys and we promised to get the two new boilers up and running while they were away.

    On the first day we had to make a temporary heater out of one of the old boilers, as pipes began to freeze overnight (it was roughly 30 degrees in the basement). Second night house was robbed (side window was broken) and they took anything copper that we left in the basement along with whatever valuables there were in the house (thank god it was two steam boilers that we pipe in steel and cast iron). It was snowing and the snow was actually blowing into the now missing window. We called the police and they basically told us there was nothing they could do and to have the homeowner call them when they got back in town. We installed plywood on the broken window and took all of our tools home that night. Third day we fired up the new boilers and I ran through the house checking for leaks, I remember seeing the dog's dish with ice on top (dog was away with family). Family could not have been more thankful when they got home and found a warm house, despite the fact they just buried Grandpa and were robbed.

    2. Same family, different town almost exactly a year later, better town this time. Large steam boiler fails and they have no heat. House must have nine or ten bedrooms and almost every one is being used. I guess after the relatives were robbed the previous year, they decided a large rottweiler would keep out unwanted guests. First day on job, owner mentions the dog is nasty and bites (you could hear Cujo growling as you came into the driveway with the van windows rolled up). Thankfully, we never actually saw Cujo but we could certainly hear him gnawing at the basement door all day. Unfortunately when we arrived on the second day we learned that Cujo preferred to relieve himself on our buckets of cast iron fittings. Yes, #1 and #2.

    If memory serves me correctly this is when we started to wear rubber gloves on dirty jobs.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
    Ichmb and ScottSecor,
    I will never complain about any job now.
    Thanks
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    lchmb
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,506
    With all the years I have been in the service business there are many. I have had guns pulled on me, truck stolen, tools stolen, prostitutes on the street jumping into my truck because it was raining, problems with dogs, snakes, lizards the list goes on. I have been bitten twice by dogs, two house explosions, and the list goes on. But one story I often tell did not happen to me but one of my servicemen at the gas company.

    It was an apartment complex and you had to pick up the key at the office to get into the apartments. This is right near Brown University with all college students living in this complex. The girls in the office gave my servicemen "Wally" the key to the apartment well aware of what awaited him there. Wally was a tease and a flirt so the girls in the office thought they would have some fun with him.

    He arrived at the apartment unlocked the door and entered the apartment. The closet containing the water heater and FWA furnace was right next the entry door. So Wally opened the louvered door to the furnace room opened his tool box and proceeded to service the unit. Now he had a way with telling stories so if he told this it would be hilarious as he added his personality to the story.

    He said, " It just did not feel right when I opened the door, I felt like I was not alone." He went on to say, "I proceeded to work on the furnace but I had this tingling sensation on the back of my neck." As time went on he says, " All of a sudden I felt like something was in the room with me but not a sound just a feeling." A little more time passes and he reports, "Something touched my back and as I looked to the left and right behind me I could not see anything. Then all of a sudden I turned completely around and it licked my face, I was staring into the eyes of a full grown "CHEETAH, still proceeding to lick my face Wally reports and it had all of its teeth." It was then he reports, " I literally pissed my pants with full grown fear." It turns out it was one of the students who lived there's pet and had been declawed but as Wally reported it still had its teeth. Wally spent some time playing with the cat and reported to the office that it had bitten him and he was on the way to the emergency room. I guess that was his way of getting back at the girls in the office.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 954
    Tim I am afraid I would have done the same thing poor Wally did. Thanks for sharing
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,463
    Mine was an old mobile home with a no water call, I was informed i should not take the call by myself, that should have clued me in. The apprentice and I get there and it's the typical 40 year old trailer with junk all around the outside. We knock on the door and a lady yells "it's open". Several people inside hand rolling cigarettes and beer cans literally all over everywhere. It was spring time and around 50 degrees outside, and at least 80 inside and haze of smoke. We go back outside and check the well. Used submersible laying on the ground with a mess of wire and extension cord wrapped around poly pipe. No power out there to even test the pump.

    We go back in to investigate power, I'm pointed to the first bedroom where the closet where water heater and well tank are. Floor is completely rotted away and a mix of poly, galvanised, and soft copper awaits. The tank is had up by the guitar string tight romex to the pressure switch. I can see under the trailer through the floor where an animal has woven a nest out of the fiberglass previously wrapped around the poly pipe.

    All the while the FHA furnace is belching hot air through the place and the sweat is beading on my face. As I'm taking this in i hear the elderly lady slugging down the hall toward my locating. She passes the doorway and goes into the bathroom next to the bedroom where I'm working, the light turns on and I realise I'm staring right at her bare buns. The paneling wall was punched through and I was directly behind the toilet. No water for quite some time as there were many 5gal pails used to flush. She proceeded to go #2 and I went outside as the helper was splicing up the submersible.

    About 100 feet away was a plywood shack next door with a stovepipe out the wall and no electricity. My apprentice said the guy had been watching him intently ever since was arrived. He then got into his old pickup and began cranking it. At least 20 seconds later it fired up and it was obviously straight piped. He just sat there and blatted it for a few min while we were outside.

    The pump ended up seized, and when we told them they needed a new one, no one even looked up at us. The old lady said she'd talk to someone about it.

    I took a long shower when I got home.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,309
    @Solid_Fuel_Man Did you ever manage to un-see what you witnessed in that bathroom?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,463
    There are times when I wish i could forget many past images.... fortunatly that was not memorized very deeply. :#
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!