On September 30th, two men were electrocuted in the Bricktown Canal of Oklahoma City. Wesley Seeley, 23, fell into the canal while posing for a photograph leaning against a nearby light stand. Seeley then attempted to pull himself up out of the water by grabbing the light post, touching exposed wires that delivered a fatal shock. A witness to the incident named Brandon Gann, who had gotten married just one day before, jumped into the water after Seeley to try to save him. Gann was electrocuted during this rescue attempt and remains in critical condition nearly two weeks later.
Within a week of this incident, Lynn McDermott of Sarasota, Florida, was walking his new puppy Charlie after a rainy morning when Charlie suddenly collapsed and began foaming at the mouth. McDermott quickly realized that Charlie had been electrocuted directly after stepping onto an electric pull box on the street, which houses the wiring for street lights. Firefighters arrived on the scene and attempted to resuscitate Charlie, but they were not able to save him.
Both of these cases bring up the questions of why the electrocutions occurred and who is ultimately responsible for the unsafe conditions that caused them. After the Bricktown Canal incident, an investigation of the lamp posts surrounding the canal revealed that some of the lamp posts were not properly grounded. The City Parks Director also revealed that multiple lamp posts are only up-to-date on the electric codes that were in place the year they were first installed, which goes as far back as 1998.
In the case of Charlie’s death, it was discovered that the metal lid of the pull box had come into contact with a faulty wire and become electrically charged. The McDermotts have not been able to fully determine who is responsible for Charlie’s death because while the city of Sarasota owns the pull boxes, Florida Power & Light (FPL) is the company responsible for maintenance. At a minimum, however, McDermott and his wife hope to see the city add warning signs to the metal boxes to warn others who are unaware of the potential danger.
No individual should feel unsafe in their own city or neighborhood, especially if the danger is avoidable when proper safety precautions are put in place. It is crucial to hold those who are responsible for the harm accountable and to prevent similar avoidable incidents from happening in the future.
For more information from Bailey and Greer about the devastation of electric shock injuries and potential legal action you can take, click here. For those who have been the victim of an electrocution, it is worth speaking with an experienced lawyer, such as the attorneys with Bailey and Greer—we are always available to help with more information or a free consultation. Feel free to contact us via our website or call 901-475-7434.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Thomas has obtained multiple million dollar verdicts and settlements throughout his career. Thomas lives in Memphis with his wife and four daughters.