Bizarre Bullet

Last week the most bizarre thing happened. We found a bullet embedded in our roof. This will take some explaining so let me get down to it.

We have these solar coils on our roof that heat the swimming pool. Water is pumped up into these coils made of black PVC like material where it gets heated by the sun and then goes into the pool. It doesn’t use photovoltaic cells which coverts solar energy into electricity. It has worked well so far.

Last week my wife noticed water leaking and called the company that installed it for us. The technician went up on the roof. He fixed the leak and then brought down this most interesting artifact – a two inch length of tubing with a bullet in it.

The technician first suspected that we were maybe a trigger-happy family and let loose a few into the roof. But he didn’t find any holes in the roof. So his conclusion and ours was that the bullet came from elsewhere. Perhaps a wayward bullet from someone’s gun that was fired into the air and hit our roof at the end of its journey.

According to high school physics the speed of a projectile thrown up will be the same when it lands on the ground as the speed at release. However, in reality, air drag will reduce the speed. In the case of a bullet, I don’t know how much it will slow down by, but I have heard of at least one TV show where someone dies of a random bullet on its way down that was fired into the air somewhere else.

Our bullet was also traveling at great speed. There is no doubt about that. The coil is made of stiff plastic tubing. The bullet was able to penetrate it twice, though it didn’t fully exit it the second time. Also, the bullet did not hit the coil along a radial line. The entry hole (wound?!) and the exit hole are about 15 degrees apart which indicates a glancing impact. But the bullet was fast enough that it was able to penetrate the tube on a glancing impact.

I guess this kind of a thing is commonplace in Baghdad and Beirut. But for Fremont, California – ‘a good place to raise a family’ – we’ll be talking about this for weeks.


  1. Rajesh Kumar says:

    This is hair raising indeed.


  2. Ved Vyas says:

    This indeed is quite interesting and scary incident. In today’s world no place is safe enough.


  3. Giri says:

    ..people dying from bullets on their way down! interesting.

    I wonder why our movies at home haven’t caught up on this yet.

    in addition to stopping, dodging (matrix style) and redirecting (rajnikanth style) bullets our heroes can also start spraying bullets into the air killing loads of thugs.

    hope someone from b/t/k/../z/ollywood takes notice of your post..


  4. Sue says:

    Basab – hope you haven’t experienced any more bullets coming through your solar coils. I wanted to ask what your experience has been with your solar coils. I haven’t been able to find many websites about them. We just moved into a house that has them, but they don’t seem to heat the pool to a high degree (first run is around 130 degrees, then drops significantly after that, and the pool itself isn’t heating up past 72 or so). Any info. you can provide on your success (or other) with these will be appreciated.



  5. Vidya says:

    Hi Sue,

    We live in a pretty cool part of the Bay where it is pretty windy so can’t say that the solar coils have been a smashing success. Our roof has a small south facing side so there is a limit to how many coils one can put up. When the ambient temperature is around 80 degrees or higher for at least 5 days in a row, the pool heats up to a nice 80 degrees too. Last year we used it continuously from June through August.
    A friend who has solar panels instead of coils on her roof has been using the pool since the beginning of April. The ambient temperature around her house is about 10-15 degrees warmer than ours all the time so that could be making a difference.
    Hope that helps.



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