Firefighter is Electrocuted after Contacting Overhead Power Line, Kentucky

Kentuck Case Report: 14KY049
Release Date: August 12, 2015


On August 21, 2014, four firefighters arrived at a local university to assist in a national disease fundraising event. After debating where to set up their tower truck, the firefighters parked the tower truck close to a hydrant and two drains to protect landscape and provide drainage. Overhead power lines were present at all locations discussed. Firefighters 1 and 2 were in the bucket of the tower truck, a third firefighter was on the turntable of the truck opening the valves to access the water, while firefighter 4 was by the back of the truck watching the university film crew tape the introduction. Fundraising participants stood in front of the tower truck and firefighters opened the hose and sprayed them as they sang their school’s song. Once the song finished the crowd thanked the firemen and dispersed.

As the firefighters disassembled, one witness noticed that while attempting to dock, the bucket moved upward towards power lines instead of lowering. Firefighter 1, who was in control of the bucket, struck the powered electrical line sending a charge throughout the tower truck. Firefighter 1 then slumped down and witnesses heard him moaning. The victim then stood and struck the power line again with the left side of his head. Firefighter 2 who was also in the bucket with Firefighter 1 yelled for help.

At 11:44 am, emergency medical services were dispatched to the scene and arrived at 11:48 am. Paramedics treated firefighters 3 and 4 for non-life threatening injuries, and transported them to a local hospital. Firefighter 2 was transported first to a regional hospital then flown to a trauma center with electrical burns. Firefighter 1 was directly airlifted to a trauma center and succumbed to his injuries one month later from electrical burn complications.

Firefighter is Electrocuted after Contacting Overhead Power Line, Kentuckypdf icon [PDF 942 KB]

Page last reviewed: February 24, 2016