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Man burned in electrical fire at middle school
WEB construction electrocution for JS 7-7-08
A helicopter carrying an injured construction worker lifts off from the campus of North Forsyth Middle School. The man, whose identity has not been released, suffered second- and third-degree burns in an electrical fire. - photo by Jim Dean

A construction worker was hospitalized Monday after he was burned in an electrical fire while working at North Forsyth Middle School.


Authorities said the man, a contract worker, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and arms while trying to install a breaker in the main electrical panel.


“Something happened to cause a big electrical arc and he received burns from that,” said Forsyth County Fire Lt. Barry Head. “It’s going to probably take an electrical engineer to determine exactly what caused it.”


The man, whose name has not been released, was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. His condition could not be determined.


The worker's name was not listed on the fire department report. Citing health privacy laws, the ambulance service declined to release his name or employer. The Forsyth County school system had no comment on the matter.


Fire Engine 12 was the first to respond to the incident, along with Advanced Ambulance Services.


When responders arrived shortly after 11:30 a.m., Head said, “We were actually met at the door by him.”
“He walked out and met us at the ambulance,” Head said. “He was in a lot of pain.”


The man was not able to explain what happened to cause the extensive damage to the main panel, Head said.
Despite the burns, the fire official described the worker as “a pretty lucky guy.”


“He was very fortunate," Head said. "He had 480 volts and 14,000 amps in that panel probably, so he had a big ball of electric fire.”