Man blown several feet after making contact with tree on live power lines

Fire chief reminds residents to always assume power line are live

Williams Lake Fire Chief Des Webster said a Williams Lake man is lucky to be alive after being electrocuted when he made contact with a tree resting on a live power line.

“He is a lucky man,” Webster said of the unidentified male, who was blown back some 15 feet after receiving a shock.

“Obviously he wasn’t aware how well wood conducts electricity.”

Firefighters were responding to a car fire on the Mackenzie Avenue connector when they received a report of hydro lines down at 5:50 p.m. Wednesday in the Old Soda Creek Road area.

Webster said when they arrived the downed line was across the driveway into the private property and the victim was still at the location.

“We didn’t know he was hurt until the neighbours told us,” he said.

“But he was starting to have muscle spasms and his hands were burned.”

Between the evidence gathered on scene and witness accounts, Webster said they determined the man fell the tree on the power line and made two cuts to it while it was contacting the primary line.

“Trees are great conductors of electricity because of the moisture in them,” Webster said, advising residents to be cautious. “You should always assume the line is live and stay 30 feet away (when something like this happens).”

The tree was on fire when the fire department arrived, and BC Hydro crews attended to shut off the power and safely remove the tree.

Webster said he did not know the full extent of the man’s injuries after he was taken to hospital by ambulance.