Niles water worker injured by electrified water line
Published 9:49 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015
A City of Niles employee was hospitalized after receiving an electric shock while working below ground on a water supply line Monday morning in Niles.
Administrator Ric Huff did not identify the worker, but said he was in his 30s and a part of the city’s Water Division.
Huff said the man was alert and responsive when Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service transported him to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He was treated and released the same day.
The incident occurred at approximately 9:45 a.m. in the 800 block of Iroquois Trail in southwest Niles.
Huff said the worker was attempting to restore water service that had become obstructed to a home in that area. The worker received an electric shock, Huff said, when he disconnected the water service supply between the water main and the home in order to clear the supply line.
“It appears the water supply was energized somehow and it grounded through him,” Huff said.
The worker was able to disconnect himself from the energized source and climb out of the hole with assistance from other workers.
Niles electric division workers, an electric inspector and a safety expert were immediately brought in to determine why the water line was energized.
“The electrical inspector is telling us that it might be incredibly difficult to find out what happened because this point that was energized could have been energized from multiple places in the area,” Huff said.
Inspectors were unable to replicate the situation so they were unable to determine how much current was in existence at the time of the incident. The exact cause remains undetermined.
The Niles Fire Department assisted at the scene.