Reporting Karen Anderson
WESTBOROUGH (CBS) – A Grafton man, recovering after being electrified, is grateful to Westborough Firefighters for saving his life.
Robert Maxwell was driving home with takeout from a Chinese food restaurant when his car hydroplaned and slammed into a utility pole. He says the last thing he remembers is hearing an explosion, and then woke up in a hospital days later.
He’s alive thanks to firefighters in Westborough who rescued him after his car was electrified.
When firefighters arrived on the scene in the torrential rain Friday night, they knew they had a potentially dangerous situation.
Lt. Brian Roberts says, “We could see the electricity was arcing, there was sparking, popping, burning.”
He realized there was a passenger inside, and notified his team of firefighters to respond.
Dispatchers called National Grid to turn off the electricity, but the smoke and fire were growing with Maxwell inside. The firefighters knew they couldn’t use water, so they used a dry chemical to buy some more time.
Lt. Roberts say firefighters began talking to Maxwell to try to help him get himself safely out of the electrified car. “It was a desperate measure in that situation but it was our only option,” he says.
Firefighter EMT Craig Rossi says, “As the situation escalated and time was running out, the decision was made, we had to get them out then and there.”
Maxwell was able to get into the backseat, and as he got out of the back, he was shocked when he touched the ground.
Firefighter EMT Chris Weinwurm says, “He was unconscious, he had no pulse and was struggling to breathe.” Weinwurm’s two partners administered CPR, an ambulance arrived, and Maxwell was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center. He’s being treated for his burns but is in good spirits, and wants to recognize the firefighters for risking their own lives to help him survive.
“It’s amazing,” says Rossi. “Electricity is one of the things we fear the most. That we were able to get him out of the car and have a positive outcome was very impressive.”