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Boy in stable condition after being shocked by power line

September 29, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARLOWE, W.Va. - A doctor told the father of 5-year-old Marvin D. Hurley that he never needs to play the lottery again - his lucky day came Tuesday evening when Marvin was still alive after touching a live power line in Marlowe, W.Va.

The boy touched the line around 6 p.m. after climbing a tree by the line in the backyard of his aunt's home on Lindsey Lane in Berkeley County. He was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., and flown to Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, his family said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon that Marvin was in good condition in the hospital's intensive care unit. Marvin's father, Marvin Hurley Sr., said later that the boy had been removed from the intensive care unit and moved into another facility because he no longer needed around-the-clock care.

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Tabatha Hurley, the boy's aunt, said her son, also 5 years old, and Marvin were playing together when Marvin climbed to the top of the tree and touched the power line.

Tabatha said her son saw sparks and smoke. Marvin was able to climb down the tree, but had injuries to his hands and a spot on his calf where the power exited his body, Marvin Hurley Sr. said.

"(The doctors) told me it was a miracle he was still alive," he said.

Hurley said all of the neighborhood's children play in his yard - which is adjacent to the yard of his sister.

"It's a pretty safe place, we thought," he said.

Although the line is on his property, Hurley said he has no idea where it goes. He said he never knew its purpose or whether it was a live wire. He said he still does not know the voltage of the wire, which he described as being about 15 feet off the ground.

"Something like that shouldn't be looping through someone's backyard," he said.

Both Marvin Hurley and his sister said they have expressed concerns in the past to Allegheny Power about the line, and notified the company on Tuesday night about the incident.

Both said an employee of the company said someone would come to the property to assess the situation, but that nobody had shown up or called the family by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Allegheny Power spokeswoman Janice Lantz told The Herald-Mail at around 7:30 p.m. that a crew had been sent to the scene.

"Normally at Allegheny, we take all contact accidents seriously," Lantz said. "It's not our practice to ignore these situations."

She said the crew might have been delayed in responding because the accident was not reported by an emergency medical crew, but instead was called in to the company's customer service center by the boy's family.

Lantz said the line is the main power supply line for Lindsey Lane, and consists of 12,000 volts.

The line meets a requirement that it be at least 18 feet off the ground, Lantz said. She said a 20-foot pine tree growing through the line might be trimmed by Allegheny Power.

"This was certainly a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the Hurley boy and his family tonight," she said.

Hurley, who has five children, including a 3-year-old, said he plans to cut down all of the trees near the power line.

"I never dreamed that a nightmare was hanging out in the back of my house," he said. "If they don't do something, I'm going to take it down. I don't want this in my yard."

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