Archive for Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Leavenworth man escapes injury after truck hits line

July 13, 2005

Brandon Fryman is a lucky man.

About 3 p.m. Monday, as the county employee was spreading gravel near 208th and Sandusky, the bed of the raised dump truck he was driving struck an overhead power line.

Harry Gast, a county employee who drives a road grader, was just behind the truck Fryman was driving.

Gast saw how close the truck was to the power line and called Fryman on his two-way radio to warn him.

"I just told him to stop, he didn't have time to do nothing else, by then it was too late," Gast said.

Gast said he saw a "big ball of fire."

"There were flames from the top of the pole and they went right down the bed of the truck," Gast said.

When Tonganoxie fire chief Dave Bennett arrived, he told the 23-year-old Fryman, who lives in Leavenworth, to stay inside the truck.

Stranger Township's assistant fire chief, Bert Dunham said Bennett gave the right advice.

As it turned out, the electrical line touching the truck was hot. But at the time, nobody knew that for sure.

"We (Dunham and Bennett) both decided that unless the truck caught on fire, he was going to stay in the vehicle until the electric company came out."

The live power line remained on the truck for more than an hour, until employees from Westar Energy arrived and shut off the power.

Dunham said Fryman told him the tires of the truck were getting hot.

"When you have that high voltage (touching a vehicle) it will heat up the tires and they could catch on fire," Dunham said.

Meanwhile, neighbors tolerated the power outage as best they could. Firefighters went to a nearby house to help an elderly man out of his electric lift chair that would not work during the power outage. And Ben Myers, who owns the pasture beside the downed power line, came to make sure his cattle weren't near the site.

By evening, the pole was replaced and power restored to neighboring homes.

Dunham, who'd just fixed his riding mower and planned to mow his lawn when the emergency call came out, said he was glad the driver was safe.

"I'm never going to get my yard mowed, but that's the way it is," Dunham said. "People come first, property comes second."

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