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Firefighters hurt as ladder hits wire

Three Fairfax County firefighters were injured Wednesday morning, and power was lost to 31,000 Northern Virginia homes and businesses as far north as Alexandria, when a ladder on a fire engine struck two power lines in the Lorton area.

The firefighters were doing a weekly test of the ladder at the Crosspointe station, just off Route 123 on Hampton Road, about 8:40 a.m., Fairfax fire spokesman Dan Schmidt said.

As the firefighters were extending the ladder near the station, it struck two lines and shot a bolt of high-voltage electricity through the truck, along the concrete driveway and into the station, sparking a short fire at the electrical box, Schmidt said.

One firefighter was hurt when he leapt from the truck to avoid electrocution, Schmidt said. A second firefighter was hit by debris from concrete that was launched into the air by the electricity, and a third firefighter was being checked for injury to his hearing by the noise from the loud explosion, Schmidt said. None of the injuries was life-threatening, and the fire inside the station extinguished itself.

Meanwhile, the city of Alexandria lost power at traffic lights at some intersections in its west end, and Dominion Power reported that 31,200 customers were knocked out by the mishap. By 10:30 a.m., all power had been restored, Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  August 11, 2010; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Fires & Fire Safety , Tom Jackman  
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Unbelievable! This is one of those firefighter 101 skills - checking for overhead wires. Pretty amazing that no one was killed.

Posted by: TheOneWhoHurtsMost | August 11, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

fire everyone.....

Posted by: OldSalt8 | August 11, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: slim2 | August 11, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I second TheOne's comment. Time for some remedial classes at the Training Academy, I think...

Posted by: nan_lynn | August 11, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse


Hope everyone is okay.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | August 11, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow - incredibly embarrassing. The folks who are supposed to keep us safe, and supposed to be experts in the field, screw up that huge. This is basic ladder truck operation safety - don't raise the ladder near power lines. Fairfax County should at least discipline these firefighters - and the folks who were stuck in elevators, involved in crashes at unregulated intersections, and without power & ac for several hours have a real beef with the County. Shame on you guys! You owe us an apology.

Posted by: Imho7 | August 12, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

"Karma" ???? really waterfront property?

Does that mean the firefighters deserve to be injured...the residents deserve to be without power for an hour...or both?

Posted by: squadbroad | August 12, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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