06/07/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley
San Francisco Bay, CA– On Saturday morning, June 5, 2010, the patrons of the Orinda Farmers Market watched in horror as two window-washers were electrocuted and set on fire some 30-feet above the Vintage Office Building parking. The two men, who suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 95 percent of their bodies, are fighting for their lives while others criticize the rescue efforts of the emergency crews, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News and ABC Local.
Two men were reportedly pressure-washing the windows of a three-story building on Orinda Way in a cherry picker bucket, not far from the entrance to the farmer’s market. Just before 10 a.m., two explosions and an arc of fire erupted as a high-voltage transmission line electrocuted the workers. The transmission line apparently carries over 150,000 volts.
One witness stated, “One guy was slumped over the controls, unconscious and on fire. The other guy was on his back on fire.” Chief Darrell Lee of the Moraga–Orinda Fire District said, “Their clothes burned off.”
The workers were knocked unconscious from the blast. Witnesses began screaming at the men in hopes of waking them up. Once they regained consciousness, the men began frantically putting the fire out with their hands and by taking off their clothes.
The workers were then airlifted to the burn center at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for treatment of 2nd and 3rd degree burns across their entire bodies. They are reportedly in very critical condition.
Numerous witness and bystanders were reportedly very critical of the emergency crews, because they allegedly took too long to get to the scene and then waited for some time before rescuing the badly injured workers.
Fire officials rebutted by stating it was “challenging” to rescue the men without causing additional injuries to others. One live wire was reportedly still lying on the cherry picker while another was on the ground. They apparently had to wait for PG&E to shut off the power before they could safely rescue the men. Although the accident took place at 10 a.m., the rescue effort didn’t begin till 30 minutes later.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) will be investigating the accident.
Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for California workplace accident attorneys.