2 Workers Shocked By 13,000-Volt Power Line In Bridgewater

By Ken MacLeod, WBZ-TV

BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – The victims’ co-workers were still shoveling roof debris this afternoon, with the boots and tool belt of their critically injured friend lying nearby.

“He seemed okay in the ambulance,” said a barely understandable Marcelano Gualpa. “But I don’t know now.”

Federal investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) pulled them aside one-by-one — but none spoke much English.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports

Neighbor Fred Marges was in his backyard.

“And I just heard this big crash,” he says.

It was mid-morning.

One big aluminum ladder was already set-up for the re-roofing job, and workers were trying to set-up a second on the other corner of the house at 16 Sanger Street in Bridgewater.

Investigators believe two workers were trying to move that second ladder in the upright position, when it somehow clipped a power line between two utility poles out front.

The mishap sent nearly 14,000 volts surging through the ladder — and 23-year-old Angel Caguana of Brockton.

“One gentleman was lying on the ground motionless,” says neighbor Marges. “They actually defibbed him.”

Indeed, paramedics revived Caguana with a defibrillator and med-flighted him to Mass General.

A second worker — 22-year-old Antonio Gomes — was taken to nearby Good Samaritan Hospital with far less serious injuries.

He suffered burned hands from that ladder but is expected to be okay.

Both men worked from MG Construction out of Brockton, sub-contracted for the job by A-American Roofing.

The owner of A-American didn’t want to talk, but a friend defended his safety practices.

“This has never happened,” says that friend named David. “He’s been in this business for 30 years and never had a problem like this — ever. This is a first. He’s got a perfect safety record.”

As investigators surveyed sections of the ladder in question, one contractor who stopped by the scene described it as every roofing company’s nightmare.

“You don’t want anybody hurt on your job,” Bruce Whittemore explained shaking his head. “It’s not something you want anybody to go through.”

By mid-afternoon, National Grid crews were putting brightly colored safety sheaths on the power lines, with no way of knowing if they would have made a difference this morning.

OSHA investigators at the scene declined comment.

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