2 Men Electrocuted By Power Line in Attempt To Plant Flagpole at Cloverdale Ct. Home
FlaglerLive | August 30, 2014
Last Updated: Aug. 31, 5:04 p.m.
Two men were electrocuted Saturday afternoon as they were attempting to raise a flagpole in front of a house at 13 Colverdale Court South in Palm Coast, and the flag pole struck a 13,000-volt power line.
Sheriff’s Office dispatch documentation on Saturday identified the two men as Pasquale Perri, the 70-year-old homeowner, and Richard Gaisford, a friend.
Paramedics performed Cardiopulmonary resuscitation on both men, and both were initially transported to Florida Hospital Flagler. “They were working on them when they left,” Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle said.
Their condition is unknown. A Florida Power and Light spokesman said the sheriff’s office took a report of the incident, but a sheriff’s spokeswoman said in mid-afternoon that “it’s actually a medical call, so we won’t have a report.” She said the men were taken to Shands Hospital, but could not specify whether in Gainesville or in Jacksonville.
The company was conducting its own investigation of the incident at the scene, but referring inquiries about the electrocution to the sheriff’s office.
The incident took place in front of 13 Cloverdale Court South. Gaisford and Perri were attempting to plant a long flagpole–bearing an American flag and an Italian flag–down a plastic bracing pipe that was itself right next to a palm tree, and right under the neighborhood’s power line.
One of the men was on an outdoors ladder, holding the flagpole. The other man was holding the ladder. At one point the pole tilted and struck the power line, sending the shock through both men as the electricity coursed through men and metal. Richard Gibbs, the FPL spokesman, said that particular line in Palm Coast’s C-Section carries 13,000 volts.
Gaisford, dispatch notes indicate, was standing atop a fiberglass ladder while holding the aluminum pole. Perri was also holding the lower portion of the aluminum pole. “The men attempted to lift the pole high in the air in order to place it in the sleeve,” the notes state. “As the men elevated the pole [it] came in contact with a high voltage power line. It appears both men were electrocuted as they were holding the pole when it came into contact with the power line.”
Gaisford’s wife Sherry told police she was sitting in the garage at the time of the incident with her back turned to the men. She said she “heard the
commotion and looked back and saw both men laying on the ground. The jolt from the electric [line] knocked Richard from the ladder as both men were able to release the pole.” One of Perri’s family members started CPR, the notes state. The call was categorized as “critical.”
“Even nonmetallic ladders and equipment can conduct electricity,” FPL warns on its “working safely near power lines” web page, which includes a segment on ladders near power lines. “Keep a safe distance from any power line, measuring from the end or tip of your own extended reach and including the end or tip of any object you are holding or carrying.”
There were no reported outages in the neighborhood.
Flagler County Fire Rescue’s units 22 and 41 responded to the incident on Cloverdale Court, as did Palm Coast’s Engine 22 and 24.
Such electrocutions are rare. Yet on Thursday (Aug. 28), the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reported a double-electrocution in a chainsaw incident in St. Augustine on Honey Branch Lane. The Sheriff’s Office did investigate that case. One of the victims was cutting off tree limbs that had fallen on a power line. A neighbor heard an explosion and went to help. When he tried to move the first victim, he, too, was electrocuted.
The first victim, Chad R. Janes, 41, of Honey Branch Lane, was pronounced dead at the scene. Joseph Charles Sheffield, 51, was originally transported to UF Health in Jacksonville then to UF Health in Gainesville for additional treatment.