HEA lineman recovering from electrical accident

A Homer Electric Association lineman was medevaced to Seattle Jan. 8 following an electrical accident. Jacob Adams, 33, of Anchor Point, was at the burn unit of Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, but was released Jan. 12, a medical center spokesperson said. 

Adams is getting outpatient care from Harborview and will continue to get care with the goal of returning to Alaska as soon as doctors feel that’s safe, said HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the lineman and his family,” Gallagher said. “We’re working very closely with Jacob’s family to make sure they have everything they need to get through the immediate circumstances.”

Adams received an electrical shock while he and two other linemen were doing maintenance work on electrical equipment on Timmerman Court, a side street off Kay Court at the west end of Diamond Ridge Road. 

At about 4:35 p.m. Jan. 8, a coworker made a mayday call on a radio in an HEA vehicle to the HEA dispatcher in Kenai, Gallagher said. The dispatcher called 911. The two linemen provided immediate emergency medical care to Adams. 

The HEA dispatcher lost radio contact with the lineman because he had stepped away from the truck, but called on a cell phone to get further information for emergency responders. Alaska State Troopers and Kachemak Emergency Services arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

In a release, troopers said Adams was conscious and alert but had significant injury when they arrived. KES medics took Adams to South Peninsula Hospital, where he was stabilized. He was flown by a LifeMed fixed-wing airplane from the Homer Airport directly to Seattle.

Gallagher said he did not know the nature of Adams’ injuries.

“He’s being monitored this morning by expert medical staff at Harbor View,” Gallagher said last week.

Adams is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 and would have health insurance under the union contract between IBEW and HEA, said Michael Hodson, IBEW business manager. IBEW has reached out to Adams’ family, he said.

“We’re evaluating the situation and hoping for the best,” Hodson said. “Our IBEW family is so caring and compassionate. The members themselves go out of their way when a member is in hardship.”

The other HEA linemen followed emergency procedures in responding to Adams’ injury, Gallagher said. That would include making sure it was safe to treat Adams.

“They are highly trained professional linemen. They would follow the procedures they have gone through in years of training,” he said.

HEA has started an investigation into the incident and will cooperate with other agencies in their investigations, Gallagher said.

“Safety is the number-one priority within the company,” Gallagher said. “We work very hard to instill a culture of safety. That’s always been our number-one goal and will continue to be our number-one goal. This is a very serious and tragic incident at this point.”

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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