Reporting Karen Anderson
NORTH GRAFTON (CBS) – In an instant, his car crashed, caught fire, and he was surrounded by electrical wires. Now, a North Grafton man is talking about the night he nearly died.
“I remember the transformer exploding, because there was a bright orange explosion. The transformer falling, the car igniting on the right side,” Bob Maxwell said. “I knew the instant I got the electrification. But after that of course I was knocked out.”
Maxwell had driven to pick up Chinese food for he and his wife nearly three weeks ago, and on the way back was stuck in a horrible rain storm.
“It was raining torrentially and I remember going around a car that was turning left, and my car began to fishtail I think I over corrected, by that time I was hydroplaning,” said Maxwell.
The next thing he remembers is that he careened into a utility pole.
“The telephone pole was there almost instantly and I hit it. All the live wires came down and the transformers exploded at that time. And that come down and started a fire in my car,” said Maxwell.
He could see the sparks and flames from inside the car.
“We had live wires, fire, and rain going on all at the same time,” said Maxwell.
His car also hit a stop sign, which grounded the vehicle and caused it to become energized.
Maxwell says he tried to get out of the car but couldn’t, and remembers trying to move to the back seat to get away from the fire.
Westboro firefighters responded in minutes. They called National Grid to shut off the power, but the smoke was building in the car, so they decided they had to take a risk and get Maxwell out.
They knew it was electrically charged, and tried to help him jump out.
“I must have touched the ground with one leg and the car with another, and that closed the circuit. And Boom. Like that. And that was it,” said Maxwell.
“It was enough to stop my heart. They resuscitated me almost instantly I guess, which was fortunate. That’s as much as I recall. Then I woke up the next morning in the hospital,” said Maxwell.
Bob’s wife said the first thing her husband said was “How are my clubs?” when he awoke.
His golf clubs survived as well.
He has wounds where the electricity entered his body in his calf, and exited in his toe. He also has burns on his head, arms, legs and he has three broken ribs and a broken clavicle from CPR.
His most significant injury is the wound where the electricity left his body.
Now, he wants to say thank you to the firefighters and the Westboro community for their support.
He said neighbors from the crash scene in Westboro who sent him a card.
“It was nice of them to send that card. I would like them to know that I appreciate it very much.”
And he is grateful to the firefighters.
“If the firemen hadn’t been in the vicinity, there wouldn’t have been time, I would have been dead,” he said. “What those guys do is just heroic. Because they were in equally as much danger as I was, with that electricity around.”
Maxwell hopes to be out on the golf course soon.
How does he explain the fact that is alive today?
“I can’t. How could you? I have no explanation other than everything seemed to come together at the right time I guess,” said Maxwell.
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