A New Jersey utility worker narrowly escaped as fallen wires erupted into a fireball, setting the ground ablaze.
The explosive close call was captured on dashcam video obtained by NBC10.
Monday’s storm brought down a powerline on Route 70 and Colonial Drive in Manchester Township.
A worker with Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) responded to the scene and tried to get a fallen wire off a traffic light pole around 6:30 a.m. Manchester Township Police Sgt. Christopher Hemhauser was parked nearby at the time.
“I was under the impression that the line was de-energized and based on his actions, I felt he was under the same impression that the line was de-energized,” Sgt. Hemhauser said.
Dashcam video from Hemhauser’s vehicle recorded as the fallen wires suddenly exploded. The lineman ran for safety as parts of the ground caught fire. Amazingly, the worker wasn’t seriously hurt and didn’t need medical treatment.
“He was definitely startled,” Sgt. Hemhauser said. “Seemed just like myself. Kind of in shock as to what happened.
Sgt. Hemhauser told NBC10 he and another officer had to flee during an earlier explosion at the same spot. Fire from the second explosion was so intense that it left visible holes in the asphalt.
“It’s just a reminder of how dangerous electricity really is,” Sgt. Hemhauser said.
Operations personnel with JCP&L are reviewing the video of the fire. A spokesperson told NBC10 the incident is under investigation and the company is glad no one was hurt.
“I’ve met, worked alongside these JCP&L guys on many scenes,” Sgt. Hemhauser said. “They are very cautious. They follow the rules. Something obviously was wrong here.”