man critical after hitting power lines and catching on fire

An employee of Wheeling High Load Experts was working with an escort crew Saturday afternoon close to 1 p.m. when he came into contact with Centerpoint power lines carrying over 19,000 volts. According to Magnolia Police Department Sgt. Lopez he and his units were on patrol on Buddy Riley Blvd when they saw a large blue flash. They immediately responded to where a high load was being moved through town enroute to Monterey, Mexico. Several weeks ago a similar load was going through the City of Magnolia when it became hung on the railroad signals on FM 1774 at FM 1488. In that incident a southbound freight train crashed into the load creating a traffic nightmare as schools were just leaving out.

To avoid that crossing the load was re-routed one block south onto Buddy Riley Blvd. The paved city road runs in front of the Fire Station and City hall.

According to Lopez the load had a vehicle in front with a mast to determine height of obstacles. It was followed a bucket truck owned by Wheeling. With a driver in the drivers seat another employee was in the bucket elevated. His job was to raise power lines, cable lines and traffic signals to allow the load to pass.

Somehow the operator in the bucket made contact with the power lines causing not just a blue flash but the yet unidentified male to catch fire in that bucket. When police arrived he was still on fire. The bucket was quickly lowered and the fire extinguished.

Due to weather conditions Life Flight was not able to respond to the scene. MCHD crews assisted by a Magnolia firefighter transported the victim to Hermann Hospital in Houston.

An investigation continues into the incident.

There has not been an update on the victim who was severely burned.



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