Tree cutter avoids close call with electricity
by CHARLOTTE SANDERS
WILLIAMSON - A situation involving electricity thankfully ended safely for all those involved on Sunday, as electrical lines fell and posed a hazard for two men cutting a tree on College Hill in Williamson.
According to information released by Williamson Fire Department Chief Jerry Mounts, firefighters responded to College Hill late Sunday afternoon at approximately 5:06 pm, in response to a 911 call concerning the possible electrocution of a tree cutter.
Upon arrival at the scene, the firemen and EMS personnel discovered an individual approximately 30 feet above the ground in a large tree, with a 7200 volt electrical line in very close proximity. The report states that 2 individuals were cutting a tree and in the course of removing the top portion, the worker on the ground tossed a wire cable into the air which landed across the power lines causing them to arc and present a very hazardous situation.
The event also caused a momentary disruption in electrical service for a large portion of Williamson. The cable ended up within mere inches of the tree cutter who was still lodged in the top of the tree, as it lay across the power lines.
As WFD personnel secured the emergency scene, Lt. J. Carey climbed the tree in order to perform a medical assessment of the stranded victim. As it turned out, fortunately he was only shaken and traumatized by the event. He reportedly told Carey he was fine, but was not moving until the power line was de-energized. Within minutes, Appalachian Electric Power employees arrived on and safely eliminated the threat by temporarily shutting down the flow of electricity in the area. Once this occurred, the tree cutter climbed down without any assistance.
“Lt. Carey took the appropriate actions by securing the scene, contacting AEP - who told him they’d have a crew on scene in 10 minutes, and assessing the victim’s condition,” stated Chief Mounts. “Any fool-hearted attempt to set up a ladder or perhaps interact with the cable lying across the high voltage power lines could have put the firefighter’s safety, as well as everyone who was in the vicinity, in jeopardy.”
“Given the fact that the individual was not injured and AEP was on the way, it was absolutely the right call,” said the chief. “We’re very thankful that this situation ended in the manner that it did.”
Chief Mounts reminds the public to use the upmost caution when performing any tasks that are near live electrical lines.
The WFD responded with to the call with 9 firefighters, 1 engine and 1 service truck.
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