NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – County firefighters may have gotten a valuable learning experience from an incident Monday afternoon.
County firefighter Robert Pate was shocked by a falling electrical line while battling flames.
Michael Stophel, battalion chief for the New Hanover County Fire Rescue, said the department was happy that Pate's injuries weren't serious.
"When it does hit one of your guys it does make it hit at home and make you go back and brush off the textbooks a little bit and start reviewing some things'" said Stophel.
Stophel said that firefighters typically call the power company for assistance when they get to the site of a blaze.
"Power lines are always a concern," explained Stophel. "Some of the first things we do when we arrive is get a hold of the power company to start securing utilities and stuff like that and to make it safer for our guys whenever they're inside working."
The battalion chief said his fellow firefighters handled the shocking situation well Monday.
"The biggest thing is to get him out of danger, and once he got out of the front yard and got away from it, the other guys got over there and started taking care of him," said Stophel.
He explained that Pate was lucky he didn't sustain more serious injuries.
"There are cases where guys have stepped on them and even been killed by downed power lines," said Stophel.
The battalion chief said the best way to handle power lines or electrical wires during a fire is always to avoid them at all costs.
If a line falls, Stophel said the department tries to keep it untouched until crews from a power company arrive on scene to handle the situation.
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