Back in 1989, after Hurricane Hugo, we were sent to Puerto Rico to restore power. The storm had caused widespread damage throughout the Caribbean and the Southeastern U.S.
On the part of the island where we were, the poles and wires were down, on the ground, all over. Prior to our arrival, six people had died.
On our first day, my partner and I were flagged down by a group of locals. They were urgently telling us there was a big problem and led us down a path. There, we found a body lying across a fence.
A pole had snapped and fallen over. The cables were lying on the fence. My coworker started to go over to the man on the fence. I grabbed and stopped him until we could test that it was de-energized. There was nothing we could do. He was severely burned and there was no doubt that he was dead. By then, the circuit appeared to be locked out. It was, unfortunately, too late for this poor guy.
Another day, we were working in an area in the hills. We were preparing materials for the job. I was working behind the truck, building the hardware for a pole. Suddenly, I was hit from the side and sent flying. As it was happening, there was a loud crash. One of my coworkers had tackled me, shoving me out of the way of a vehicle slamming into the back of the truck I was standing behind.
Adding insult to injury, it was one of our other trucks that had been parked uphill from mine. We didn’t have our own equipment with us but had been assigned equipment that had been sent over for the restoration effort from Europe.
Dave Donovan – Retired Lineman/Cable Splicer