In Kentucky on Thursday of last week, four Campbellsville firefighters were electrocuted when electricity raced from a high voltage line to the bucket of an aerial ladder truck they each were standing in. This happened while they were participating in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge student fundraising event at the university located at Campbellsville.
Captain Tony Grider, age 41, and Simon Quinn, age 22, were both flown by the EVAC Stat Flight Team helicopter crew to the burn unit at a hospital in Louisville. Grider was stated as being in critical condition while Quinn was considered to be in fair condition.
The other two other firefighters, Captain Steve Marrs, age 37, and Alex Johnson, age 28, both also received electrical shocks in the event as well but were not considered to be seriously injured. They each were treated and released at a local Campbellsville hospital, stated a news release. The episode occurred around 11:40 a.m.
The four firefighters had driven the fire truck to the university just across the street from the fire station, because they wanted to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. When individuals take part in the challenge, they agree to be drenched with icy cold water in order to raise research money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as ALS.
The Campbellsville University band was behind the fundraiser. The fire truck was parked on one of the streets on the campus near a region of student housing, explained Campbellsville police Chief Tim Hazlette.
Quinn and Grider were spraying water from the elevated ladder truck bucket. When the event was over, the two firefighters were letting down the bucket; it apparently came within the edge of the electrical charge surrounding a high voltage power line.
The firefighters had been using the ladder’s bucket to spray water on the Campbellsville University marching band. The challenge had been effectively completed and the ladder was moving away when the power line, with nearly 70,000 volts of electricity flowing through it, shocked the firefighters.
Allen Johnson, who was a previous chief of the Campbellsville Fire Department and is also the father of Alex Johnson, stated that there is a place around the lines where electricity is able to arc onto an object. The voltage can jump feet, not inches, but literally feet.
It is believed that is exactly what happened. Electricity arced from the power line over to the bucket, both shocking and burning the firefighters. The bucket never touched the line. Alex Johnson and Marrs were able to get control of the ladder from below even though they were also shocked, but were able to drop the bucket and give emergency aid to Quinn and Grider. None of the students were injured.
The mayor of Campbellsville, Tony Young, explained that each of the four firefighters hurt in the accident are devoted to their work. Grider is a 16 year veteran of the fire service and Marrs, who is an 11 year veteran, both also work as paramedics. Quinn is a part-time firefighter, while Johnson, who is an emergency medical technician, has been working with the Kentucky fire department for three years, stated the news release.
ALS is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease, which progressively destroys a person’s muscle control. There is no cure.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a social media sensation as millions of individuals have agreed to have ice water dumped on top of them and have also pledged monetary donations to the cause.
Two Campbellsville firefighters were injured when electricity raced from a high voltage line to the bucket of an aerial ladder truck they each were standing in in Kentucky.
By Kimberly Ruble