Mike called me and said, “Juanito. Can you come and help me. The only way to reach the splice case is with a bucket.” I made my way thru heavy stop and go traffic up I-80 into Berkeley and then up the narrow roads of The Berkeley Hill. I got cranky when he asked me, “What took so long? I need to get off on time.” I replied, “Five miles of stop and go traffic.” He’s bought me lunch when I’ve helped him in the past so I bit my tongue and smiled.
I boomed up to the splice case but noticed my hair standing on end; I knew exactly what that meant so I came down and called Pacific Gas and Electric. When your skin tingles, there’s dangerous voltage nearby. I once again boomed up and measured how much voltage was traveling down the pole. 12,000 volts were indeed coming in contact with the utility pole. I looked as if an insulator had cracked causing the dangerous situation.
Within 30 minutes a PG&E trouble man showed up with one of their boom trucks and isolated the wire. If Mike had tried to climb that pole, he could have been hit with 12,000 volts and 100 amps. To put things into perspective, they execute people using only 1000 volts and 5amps. It would have happened instantly and he would have been a safety flash at The World’s Largest Telecommunication Company next safety meeting. “Employee came in contact with high voltage. Deceased.” This too will pass