Worker survives shock while trimming branches in Warren

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published July 17, 2019

 Shutterstock photo

Shutterstock photo

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WARREN — Note to anyone clearing brush along power lines near your property: Be very careful, because branches or tools that go near or touch high-voltage wires can result in serious injury or a quick death.

Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said a 46-year-old worker was injured just before noon July 14 after a limb from a tree he was trimming touched a primary transmission line in the 26700 block of Warner Avenue, south of 11 Mile Road and west of Ryan Road.

“The electricity traveled down the branch and into his hands and exited through his right foot,” McAdams said.

The man was reportedly in a lift when he was injured, but was on the ground and able to talk to paramedics when they arrived on the scene.

McAdams said the lines, typically near the top of the pole, carry a minimum of 30,000 volts of power. That’s more than enough to kill. Power can travel through objects that come into contact with the lines and can even jump or arc to nearby trees or branches that pass too close.

“Apparently the branch wasn’t a very good conductor of electricity. We don’t think he took the full minimum of 30,000 (volts),” McAdams said. “He was coherent and talking to us upon our arrival.”

The worker was transported to Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren and later was transferred to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where was treated for burns and was screened for internal injuries.

McAdams said the man is obviously lucky to be alive.

“He needs to play the lottery,” McAdams said.

The transmission line wasn’t damaged and there was no service disruption in the neighborhood. 

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