West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – A man was briefly trapped in his truck by a downed powerline at Sunset Boulevard and Leaphart Street in West Columbia Thursdayafternoon. This is near the boat dealership between 12th Street and the Jarvis Klapman Blvd overpass.
According to West Columbia Fire Chief Wyatt Coleman, high winds downed a tree that then dropped the powerline across the road. The driver of the truck apparently did not see the line that was hanging just above road height, and he struck it with the front of his vehicle.
Coleman said that the man stayed in the truck and called for help. When the fire department arrived on the scene, they immediately notified SCE&G and asked that they send someone out immediately.
Crews from the utility company arrived on the location, and cut the power to the circuit. The man was then helped from the truck by the firefighters and was checked by an EMS crew from Lexington County that had been standing by. When it was determined that he was not injured, he was able to leave the scene.
According to SCE&G, the wire turned out to be a neutral wire. These do not conduct electricity.
Coleman said that the man made the right decision to stay in the truck until the utility crews de-energized the circuits. He also praised the firefighters, EMS, and police officers for handling the emergency as they did. “We have no way of knowing if a downed line is energized or not,” Coleman said. “Firefighters are trained to treat every line as hot until a crew from the utility company says that it’s not.”
The man’s truck was damaged in the accident. Its windshield was broken out, one of the tires was flattened, and there was some damage to the front bumper when it went under the front of the truck.