Live Wire Kills Atlanta Fireman

Live Wire Kills Atlanta Fireman

Charles Dougherty, of Station No. 2, Atlanta, Ga., was instantly killed and several other firemen seriously injured a few’ days ago by coming in contact with a live electric wire while fighting a fire in a residence. The fire was said to have been caused by a preventable short circuit of wires in the street. City Electrician Turner declares that while the voltage for lighting houses is seldom more than 220 volts, at least 2,000 volts passed through Dougherty’s body. He said that the electric company had not properly insulated its high power wires, and was therefore responsible for the accident. James Purcell and P. E. Hellem, pipemen of the same company, were the other victims, but will recover. Only a few days before, James Galiespie, another Atlanta fireman, was killed by a falling wall. Dougherty was electrocuted by contact with a cable which became wrapped about his shoulders when it was disconnected from the burning building. He was pulled loose from the wire by companions and huriied to the Atlanta Hospital in the automobile of Fire Chief W. B. Cummings, but died on the way. Purcell and Hellem were badly burned in pulling the wire from Dougherty’s body. Dougherty and two hosetnen from No. 9 climbed up a ladder and entered the attic, which was full of smoke and fire. Purcell and Hellem followed. The flames were soon checked and, seizing an ax, Dougherty battered down a partition, when an overhead electric cable became disconnected and fell about his shoulders. Screaming and writhing, he fell to the floor, tearing violently at the wire, which clung to his neck. Purcell took hold of the live wire and was sent reeling five feet away, too dazed to come back for several seconds. Hellem caught Dougherty about the waist, and he, too, was shocked badly. Hellem ran to the aperture and called for held, and in the meantime Dougherty was slowly being electrocuted. By this time he was speechless, and his companions looked on in blank amazement, powerless, it seemed, to help him. Relief came when Chief Cummings found the switch downstairs and turned off the current. The fireman was then unconscious and beyond aid.

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