In 2000, District workers repaved and refurbished the 1200 block of 21st Street NW. But when crews replaced the lampposts, resident Mike Olshausen says, they left one unfinished detail: a pair of exposed live wires. The wires, which run 3 feet from a new lamppost to the stump of an old one, are dead by day. But when the light turns on, a voltmeter registers nearly 4 amps—40 times the amperage that can cause respiratory arrest, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “There’s more than enough amps in it to kill a person,” says Olshausen. “Or, if a dog bites it, it’ll fry the dog.” Olshausen says a foreman told him the District forbade tearing up the street to bury the wires. D.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson Bill Rice says there is a “general policy” protecting fresh pavement—”but I can’t imagine it is being applied to something like this.” —John Metcalfe

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