One fall afternoon, I got an urgent call for a garbage truck with wires on it.
Routine stuff for me but not so for the people who called for help. The truck had been loading garbage bins with those forks that go up over the top of the truck to dump. In this case the driver got distracted, left the forks up, then drove down the street. The secondary wires had multiple services and mid-spans going both ways from the front lot positions. By the time the driver realized there was a problem the truck had torn down multiple house services. The larger secondary wrapped in his forks was arcing and was barking loudly.
When I arrived, I, immediately, made the scene safe, deenergizing the transformers that fed the street. The driver was wigged out but did all the right things, staying in the truck until I cleared the situation.
I looked over at one of the houses and there was a twenty-foot hole in the side of the house. There was an elderly fellow sitting at his kitchen table, just looking out but not moving.
After calling for more help, gathering the vehicle driver’s information and taking a few pictures, I went over to check on the guy.
I knocked on the door and the person said come on in. The house was open. There he was, sitting with a glass of scotch, calm as could be. I introduced myself and asked if he was okay.
He told me his name, Ted, and said that he usually toasts his wife, who had passed a couple of years back, every day. Ted offered me one but I told him that I had to finish work.
I told him that he needed to get an electrician and call his insurance company. He said that he could not see well enough to read his phone book or papers. He asked if I could help him since his wife used to handle much of that. How could I not but I did not have much time? I made a call while Ted finished his dram of scotch.
It was amazing how well things came together that afternoon. The insurance company got right after it, getting emergency repairs arranged to start on the repairs to the side of the home. Temporary power was installed, and all the street secondaries cleaned up.
Before I left that afternoon, I asked him how he was able to stay so calm through all the chaos. Ted said, “I was a war veteran, and my wife Emily was a nurse, you can always fix things, but you cannot always fix people.”
He thanked me for my service and help.
It is too bad that we never have enough time or support to help our greatest generation. It was brought up as a suggestion to support our customers more, to get our people more help, but nothing happened.
Bruce Masse – Trouble Technician