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Man in critical condition after approaching downed power line

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:26 a.m. HST, Dec 02, 2013

A 22-year-old man was critically injured by a downed power line in Kailua Sunday morning when he tried to approach a high voltage line with a fire extinguisher because the line was arching over cars and possibly causing the cars to smoke, officials said.

An Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman said the man put his hand on his car and was shocked by the voltage. He stopped breathing but emergency responders were able to revive him, she said.

Paramedics took the man to an area hospital in critical condition.

The downed line caused about 1,700 Hawaiian Electric Co. customers near Kuulei and Kailua roads to lose power for about an hour.

HECO is trying to determine the cause of the outage, which began around 9 a.m. Sunday. The incident was initally reported as a downed power line on a car on Ohana Street.

Crews worked to restore most of the 1,700 customers by 10 a.m. but about 25 houses nearest to the incident remained without power for a while longer.

Crews finished the work at about 11 a.m.

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DNS wrote:
I hope HECO doesn't consider their work finished. Maunawili estates has been having power outages since late Friday night. The power hasn't stayed on for more than 2 hours at a stretch. All of that delicious thanksgiving leftovers spoiling in the refrigerator. I haven't seen any hint of HECO trucks in Maunawili today.
on December 1,2013 | 10:23AM
Skyler wrote:
Have you called them?
on December 1,2013 | 10:46AM
CriticalReader wrote:
HECO outsources its power outage calls to Georgia, apparently. Could that be why the 20 minute wait hearing the the recorded voice saying how much she appreciates my patience? This is bad. Everytime it rains - just rains - power goes out. The HECO grid is completely unreliable. Everyone meet at the PUC. First piece of business on the agenda should be why multi-million dollar executive bonuses are being paid when power goes out and people get critically injured trying to take care of downed power lines because they can't get through, and prices keep rising. Second order of business: How can a monopoly power company that doesn't provide power consistently be permitted to divert its attention to running a bank?
on December 1,2013 | 11:55AM
Mythman wrote:
Back in the day when public transportation, water and electricity (and gas) were coming into being, cities set them up as sole source contracts to provide investment incentive. Now the lack of competition makes them lazy and indifferent. Competition keeps you on your toes except when it comes to government, which has no competition, or, if it arises, they just kill it off.
on December 1,2013 | 12:11PM
poipoo wrote:
I guess it depends on where you live. Our power flickers once in awhile but mostly stays on when it rains. If enough people reported the issues, perhaps they'd be a little more proactive in your area. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, etc.
on December 1,2013 | 01:05PM
Kealii wrote:
Unfortunately, it really does depend where you live. Some areas are nearly bullet-proof, others not so much. The last time power went out in our area was during the island wide outage. Besides the high cost of electricity, no complaints here.
on December 1,2013 | 03:05PM
Skyler wrote:
Hope he recovers - but this should be a hard lesson for everyone else to learn: DON'T APPROACH DOWNED POWER LINES, EVER.
on December 1,2013 | 11:21AM
localguy wrote:
Lessons learned are not. Somewhere, someone has already learned it. People fail to learn the lessons of history.
on December 1,2013 | 11:34AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Clearly, HECO is understaffed and diverts needed maintenance and capital improvement dollars to executive bonuses rather than ensuring people are safe. NO DOUBT anyone in that neighborhood calling HEO for help COULD NOT GET THROUGH to report the downed line. Time for investigation.
on December 1,2013 | 12:02PM
Kealii wrote:
It would probably make more sense to dial 911 first to report the downed power line before calling HECO. Emergency personnel would have at least blocked off the unsafe area until HECO responded.
on December 1,2013 | 03:07PM
Skyler wrote:
Seriously. I mean, how many HECO trucks are sitting around to respond just in case a power line goes down? No. You call 911 first, and if the person's in the clear, check for breathing, etc. stand by & begin CPR if needed until first responders arrive. I'd also have them lie down (if not already), slightly elevate the legs, & use a blanket to maintain their body temp, regardless of the outside temperature, in case emergency help isn't so close.

Lucky for the guy, the police station/EMS were a block away from where he was injured.
on December 1,2013 | 08:25PM
Mythman wrote:
BIG law suit
on December 1,2013 | 12:08PM
poipoo wrote:
Why? How is that HECO's fault? The guy shouldn't have put his hand on a 'hot' car in the first place.
on December 1,2013 | 01:12PM
sak wrote:
No, Big Mistake, to touch car with downed power line on it. Hope he recovers and gets another chance in life.
on December 1,2013 | 02:23PM
Kealii wrote:
You're kidding, right?
on December 1,2013 | 03:09PM
SteveToo wrote:
Dumb. Lucky he's alive.
on December 1,2013 | 12:28PM
Maunawiliboy wrote:
A very lucky guy. Touching an energized vehicle will complete the circuit to ground and very likely kill you. Prompt CPR saved him.
on December 1,2013 | 04:15PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Also need to mention that the guy's original intent to do "something" with a fire extinguisher was a VERY BAD IDEA. Don't mess with any electrical-related fire until AFTER the live wire has been de-energized. If the line's still hot, you're playing Russian roulette.
on December 2,2013 | 03:26AM
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