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Truck snags sagging power lines near track

December 12, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A tractor-trailer driver was trapped inside his rig Wednesday afternoon after his truck snagged some ice-covered power lines as he was pulling into Charles Town Races & Slots, rescue officials said.

The power lines along Fifth Avenue were hanging lower than normal due to ice buildup caused by Wednesday's ice storm, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Co.

The driver knew not to get out of the truck after the truck hit the lines, Smith said. When rescue crews arrived, 480-volt lines were arcing on top of the truck, Smith said.

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"He was basically trapped in the truck," Smith said.

By staying in the truck, the driver was protected from possible electrocution because the tires of the truck acted as an insulator, Smith said.

The driver, whose name was not available, could have been electrocuted had he stepped onto the ground, Smith said.

The truck driver was turning into the track's barn area along Fifth Avenue when he hit the lines, Smith said. Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic until Allegheny Power crews arrived, Smith said.

Allegheny Power shut off power in the area, which allowed the man to climb down out of the truck uninjured, Smith said.

The accident had a minimal effect on power service to Charles Town Races & Slots, a security official at the facility said.

Power was only interrupted for about 33 seconds, the official said, adding that the lines apparently served another area besides the track.

Rescue crews and Allegheny Power officials stayed busy responding to similar calls throughout the county Wednesday.

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