Raw: CenterPoint Energy workers shocked downtown

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 1:24 PM

HOUSTON — Five CenterPoint Energy workers were critically injured Thursday after being shocked while working at a building in downtown Houston, according to the Houston Fire Department.

It happened at the Southwestern Bell building in the 1100 block of Capitol at San Jacinto around 10 a.m.

Employees inside the building said they were sitting at their desks working when, all of a sudden, the power went out. Just outside, CenterPoint Energy workers were in major trouble.

A crew was working on an outside electrical vault when it somehow caught on fire and shocked them.

“The vault is located just outside, although it is not connected, it has a strong protective barrier around it,” an HFD spokesperson said. “But the workers were inside when it flashed, that’s why they sustained the majority of the injuries.”

Officials said the workers were hit with 480 volts of electricity.

The workers were so severely hurt that they were unable to come up by themselves. Crews had to go down and rescue them.

Paramedics then transported the workers to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center with significant electrical burn injuries. They were all in critical condition and at least one of them was burned from the neck-down, according to HFD.

San Jacinto, Capitol and Texas streets will remain closed until the area is cleared.

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