Two men are lucky to be alive, local authorities said, after they became stranded Thursday near the top of the Old Pants Factory Apartments in a bucket above a lift truck before they were rescued by Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District personnel.
Brandon Jackman, Paint Creek public information officer, said the call came in at 5:18 p.m. reporting that at two-man crew with Precision Painting were trapped in a “sky jack” bucket at least 40 feet off the ground in Hillsboro.
The men were painting window sills near the back side of the apartments when the boom on the sky jack came in contact with a 69,000-volt power line owned by the South Central Power Company, according to Jackman. He said that when the boom contacted the high tension power lines it shorted out the electronincs on the lift, leaving the men stranded.
An eye witness saw it all happen and called 911, Jackman said.
“It was a very dangerous situation until AEP until AEP and South Central got part of the grid shut down,” Jackman said.
Both AEP and South Central have high voltage power lines in that area, Jackman said.
Once power in the area was shutdown, Paint Creek used its ladder to go up and bring the men to the ground, according to Jackman.
They were rescued at 6:51 p.m.
“At that point we were waiting on a technician from the rental company that owned the high lift,” Jackman said. “AEP and South Central wanted the lift away from their lines. When he showed up he repaired the lift enough so he could drop it down and get it away from the lines.”
The boom’s contact with the power line shorted out the lift’s circuit boards. An emergency bypass sustem was used to lower the bucket, Jackman said. He also said electric company personnel said the jolt of electricity should have melted the lifts tires, but for some reason it didn’t.
“They were very lucky. They should go buy lottery tickets,” Jackman said of the two men that were stranded. “From what AEP told us they should probably not have survived coming into contact with that line.”
He said he heard reports that the situation caused sporadic power outages around the county.
Paint Creek crews cleared the scene at 11 p.m.
The Hillsboro Police Department was also on the scene.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.