Electrical Shock Traps Man in Tree

A tree trimmer is rescued after a very close call

It may have been the longest 30 minutes of his life. A tree trimmer was shocked while cutting limbs near a power line Monday and then trapped high in the tree until rescuers arrived.

The man was working on a tree in Merchantville, New Jersey. A limb he cut hit a power line and "electricity went through the branch and into his arm," one witness said.

The drama unfolded around 10:30 a.m. in the neighborhood of Central Street and Chapel Avenue. The victim, who owns a tree service company in Medford Lakes, stayed right where he was until rescuers arrived and once they got him down, he was visibly shaken but able to walk on his own according to local news reports. One rescue worker said the arm burns seemed to be the only injuries.

"He was extremely lucky if he just sustained a minor shock," said PECO spokesman Mike Wood. PECO wasn't involved in any way; we called them to find out what the victim might have been up against, trapped in that tree.

"When you lose control of a limb and it falls into an energized power line, the tree can then be energized, itself. In this case, the emergency responders most likely were taking the precaution that if he moved, he couldn't be assured that he wouldn't touch a limb that was energized by electricity."

It's not all that uncommon for tree contractors to lose control of a limb while they're working and for the limb to touch a power line, but it is rare for someone to get hurt. When they do, "most times, it's severe," said Wood.

Crews rescued took the man to the hospital to be checked out.

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