According to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, two people were found dead on April 6 after an investigation of a structure fire. The victims were 44-year-old Tanya Rodriguez and 52-year-old James Carolfi, both of whom are from the Town of Day.
An investigation revealed that both of the victims were dead before the fire and foul play was ruled out. The deaths were reportedly deemed ‘accidental’ and officials believe the deaths were caused by electrocution from fractal wood burning.
The investigation also showed that the fire started in the garage before spreading to the home. Officials say that the fractal wood burning equipment that caused the electrocutions likely started the fire.
Officials described fractal wood burning as an art form that has risen to fame on social media sites like TikTok. The fractal burning process normally uses a high-voltage transformer to flow current across wood items that have been soaked with a chemical solution.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office is warning of the dangers of fractal wood burning and says it should only be done by trained professionals.
The Town of Day is just over two hours west of Green Bay.
No additional information was provided.
The American Association of Woodturners warns on its website that fractal burning “has killed and could kill you.” In mid-2017 the AAW Safety Committee issued a ban against the technique.
The American Association of Woodturners has banned the use of this process at all of its events and has banned articles about use of a fractal burner in all of its publications.
The reported cases of fractal burning deaths range from hobbyist woodworkers through experienced woodworkers to an electrician with many years experience working with electricity. It only takes one small mistake and you are dead; not injured, dead. Some of those who died were experienced at using the process and some were not. What is common to all of them: fractal burning killed them.Rick Baker, Chair, AAW Safety Committee