Investigation underway after man electrocutes himself, sparks fire


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 7:30 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A death investigation is underway after officials said a man was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire from a power line.

It happened just west of Knob Creek on Friday morning, Jan. 31.

Smoke billowed up from roughly 10 acres near the Salt River Substation.

Crews on the scene kept an eye on any hot spots and worked to reconnect the wire that was stolen. One man was found dead near a ladder, which led authorities to believe he was possibly electrocuted while trying to steal ground and copper wire.

PHOTOS: Computer | Mobile

"It appears he was cutting a ground wire at that location and once he cut that ground wire, it took away any grounding he had and caused the electrocution to him and knocked him off the ladder," Lt. Mike Murdoch with Bullitt County Sheriff's Dept. said.

Sheriff's deputies originally got a call for a field fire when a neighbor saw smoke rising from an area near the power lines. Once deputies arrived, with the help of Salt River Electric, they found the body. Officials said it appears someone else was involved, even leaving with some wire.

"There were items there at the scene that make us think someone else was here: a duffle bag and some other items found about four hundred feet away from another utility pole. It looks like they were working on two different poles at one time," Lt. Murdoch said.

Lt. Murdoch said it was very dangerous, especially for what amounts to $100 in scrap, but causes thousands in damage.

Download WHAS11 News app: iPhone | Android

"If you were to tell me those lines were worth a million a foot you still wouldn't see me cutting," Murdoch said. "It doesn't make sense to me."

The man has not yet been identified, but again, officials said it appears as though he died from electrocution.

The Bullitt County Sheriff's Department is hoping that someone spotted vehicles in that area between midnight and five a.m.

Anyone with information is asked to give them a call at 502-543-2514.