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The Whole Story....mostly

seandavid55 Sep 10, 2017

  1. seandavid55

    seandavid55 JDBA4L JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    Well it's been a bitch of a week. I even called it quits early and headed home today. When everyone is distracted and minds are elsewhere, it's just a bad thing.

    So here is basically what happened. I work on high voltage powerlines. This particular job had us changing out bad insulators while the line was energized. We were using a combination of hotsticking and barehanding methods to do this.

    Hotsticking: using a tested fiberglass insulating stick to manipulate tools and energized conductor.

    Barehanding: placing a person at the same potential as the conductor using an insulated means. Bucket truck or ropes usually for us.

    Here is a picture of the tower design we were at: IMG_2167-600x800.jpg

    We use the hotsticks to support the wire and take the weight off the insulators. We changed the center position last. As we were about to transfer the last stick to a rope to send down, the stick failed and 500KV (500,000 volts) went straight to where we were standing in the tower.

    This felt and sounded like a sonic boom going off right in your face. The whole incident was amazingly fast. I was looking down, next thing all I saw was orange and red. Took a second to believe what had happened.

    The breakers tripped the line open. Everyone was ok. My eyes had some flash burn that made for a terrible night. But all is well now. Luckily for me I was taking a week off for hunting, so I'll have some time to get my mind right.

    Where the electricity went into the tower:


    Where it started up the stick: IMG_2132-800x600.jpg

    I'm sure there will be a lot of testing to try and figure out why the stick failed. I'd sure like a reason. But I am doubtful there will be any real conclusion.

    Thanks for reading Devils.
    XamaX, blevinsknives, crogers and 8 others like this.
  2. Bobert

    Bobert Look what I can do!

    Yikes, glad everyone's okay. Good luck hunting!
  3. ratstuph

    ratstuph Hoodoo Operator Super Moderator

    Dayum...; you a braver man than I:
    a) more than two feet off the ground;
    b) elec-bite yo ass-tricity.
    Glad you are here to tell us about it.
    crogers, Kelper, Huevos and 2 others like this.
  4. Huevos

    Huevos muy grande!

    That 500kv is some scary shit. I won't even work 15kv hot. You wide backs are a tough breed. A co-worker of mine got hit by 15kv once, I won't go into the whole story unless you want to hear it. There was no arc or sound, he just fell to the ground (not from height, he was standing on the ground). His heart stopped, CPR was performed, he came back and spent a few months in Salt Lake at the Burn Center.
    You were right to leave early. Need to have all your wits when doing this kind of work.

    Also, just curious, it looks like the stick was braced against the tower and not in anyone's hands?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    crogers, Kelper and seandavid55 like this.
  5. begreen61

    begreen61 Deadicated JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    Skywalker you scary the fuck out of me . Be careful ..Had a lineman for a friend a long time ago ,, he had more burns on him mainly around his underarms he said it was from grabbing the hot line ,from time to time ,,lost track with him ,they moved him all over the country
    crogers, Kelper and seandavid55 like this.
  6. seandavid55

    seandavid55 JDBA4L JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    elec-bite yo ass-tricity,

    I'm going to have to use that!

    At the moment it wasn't directly in anyone's hands. It's quite heavy, so we used a little rope hanging from the tower to support the weight. The guy next to me was pulling on the rope to maneuver it into position.

    Hope your friend has recovered. That's a very hard road.
  7. seandavid55

    seandavid55 JDBA4L JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    Lately I've been scared myself!
    crogers and Kelper like this.
  8. markandrex

    markandrex Thunderstruck Brigade Member

    Glad you are ok! You are lucky!
  9. Huevos

    Huevos muy grande!

    That was years ago. He's fine now but has no memory of it.
    crogers, Kelper and seandavid55 like this.
  10. Clydetz

    Clydetz Forever straight and true Brigade Member

    Shit man! I don't change a light bulb 'til I throw the circuit breaker! I'm scared of that electricity stuff! :shakie:
    Glad everone's OK.
    Huevos, crogers, Kelper and 1 other person like this.
  11. desmodus

    desmodus Arc Sodium Administrator Lady Devil JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    Too much crazy.

    All of my stories about electricity are with far less voltage.

    Take all the time you need.
  12. stdlrf11

    stdlrf11 A Most Impressive Member Super Moderator Brigade Member

    Glad you're ok.

    I don't even like being UNDER those lines, let alone working ON one.

    I swear my feet tingle when I'm under them.
  13. Kelper

    Kelper Penguin Egg Eater Lady Devil

    It's easy to take our use of electricity for granted. It take's guts to take on your job. I hate heights, three rungs up a stepladder is high enough for me. I don't know how you do it. Glad you made it safely, Enjoy your break you deserve it. Personally, I wouldn't be going back to that.
    crogers and seandavid55 like this.
  14. BennytheBlade

    BennytheBlade Fate is Inexorable JDBA Official Member Super Moderator Brigade Member

    Thanks for ...the rest of the story. I've had 2 close encounters and yours is waaaaay scarier. Glad you get a break.
    crogers, seandavid55, Bobert and 2 others like this.

    GODDESS OF VENGEANCE Crazy Bitch Lady Devil Super Moderator

    I'm happy to hear you are ok! That's by far the most important!!!! I hoped you find out the answers as to why, but don't focus on that right now because you took the time off to hunt and this time is needed right now! Don't stress over work! Enjoy yourself and happy hunting! :thumbup:
    crogers, Kelper, stdlrf11 and 2 others like this.
  16. crogers

    crogers Magnus advocatus diaboli Super Moderator Brigade Member

    So, it DID go "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzpppppptttt... POP!!!" Although, I'm sure you just heard more of a "BOOM!!". :bwah:

    Glad you're OK. When working with electricity, scared is good.

    Let's see, according to my math, 500kv + tripped breakers = about 100k pissed off customers? Sound about right?
    begreen61, seandavid55 and Kelper like this.
  17. seandavid55

    seandavid55 JDBA4L JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

    Actually I'm not sure any customers were lost. Not sure how many lines feed that substation. I'm guessing there may have been a flicker, then automatically transferred to a new source.

    They did tell us there were 9300 amps of fault current.
  18. Mr.LaBella

    Mr.LaBella ←The № 1 Devil→ Administrator

    I is scared of electricity AND heights!
  19. ded i

    ded i Friend of The Devil Lady Devil

    Thank you for all you do. Just saying - as someone who just got back her 'lectric in FL and been a member of JD for a while now.
  20. seandavid55

    seandavid55 JDBA4L JDBA Official Member Brigade Member


    Glad to hear some power is coming back on.

    I appreciate all the kind words. But a thank you isn't nessary at all. They do pay us. I haven't met many lineman that don't love their job. Crazy, but it shows most in a storm.

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