Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bystanders tried to revive man electrocuted in Largo

Police are investigating after a contractor hired to paint a building for L&S Bait Co. in Largo was killed Friday after accidentally touching live wires overhead with his ladder.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Police are investigating after a contractor hired to paint a building for L&S Bait Co. in Largo was killed Friday after accidentally touching live wires overhead with his ladder.

LARGO — Day and night, the lattice of power lines behind Progress Energy's Largo substation drones with a fatal current of electricity. When it is humid and dark, neighbors say, you can sometimes see sparks fly off the wires.

Kristopher Fox had grown accustomed to the reservoir of energy at 1415 East Bay Drive, next door to his apartment complex. But things changed early Friday afternoon, when he said he heard an explosion and his lights went out.

Fox, 27, is studying to be a medical assistant at nearby Everest University. He emerged from his apartment in blue scrubs, blinking into the midday light, and saw flames. Part of the expansive, coarsely mowed field between two fenced-off substation compounds was on fire.

Fox approached, expecting crowds or commotion. Nobody was around.

Beside the fire he saw a man.

"Next thing I know, I'm on my phone calling 911," Fox recalled in an interview Friday.

The man was on his back in the grass next to a metal ladder, rocking or convulsing — Fox couldn't quite describe the movement, which was unlike anything he'd seen. The man's face was blue and his eyes were open.

Fox checked for a pulse. Nothing. He began performing the chest compressions he'd learned in school, driving his out-turned palms into the stranger's chest, trying to force oxygenated blood to spread through his body.

Two men ran over from the L&S Bait Co. next door. One began breathing into the victim's mouth, Fox said, while another put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

"I got him breathing for about 10 seconds," Fox said.

Fire engines and paramedics arrived. They would later say Fox and the bait company workers had taken a risk in rushing to the scene to help the man. Live wires were down in the field, and they could have electrocuted themselves.

Largo police Lt. Steve Slaughter said the man had been painting a building for the bait company when he accidentally touched live wires overhead with his ladder. Largo Deputy Fire Chief Shelby Willis said the man died where he lay in the grass as paramedics arrived on scene.

L&S Bait Co. chief operating officer Eric Bachnik said the man was a contractor the company hired for a painting job. He said his employees who had helped in the initial resuscitation effort didn't want to talk about the incident.

Police had not disclosed the victim's identity Friday evening.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Suzanne Grant said the utility is investigating the circumstances of the deadly electrocution, which she said was "very tragic." She said about 120 customers in the area lost power for several hours Friday afternoon because of the incident.

Fox stood with his arms crossed outside his apartment building Friday, watching as police and firefighters came and went around the victim's body, draped beneath a white sheet. His medical training has only been going on for a few months.

"I did everything I could do," he said.

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

Bystanders tried to revive man electrocuted in Largo 12/14/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies: Wimauma teacher's aide sexually molested teen, 13

    Crime

    A Wimauma teacher's aide faces charges lewd or lascivious molestation after Hillborough County deputies say he inappropriatly touched a 13-year-old girl.

    Sonny Juarez, 29, a teacher's aide in Wimauma, faces charges lewd or lascivious molestation after Hillborough County deputies say he inappropriatly touched a 13-year-old girl on several occasions while working at the RCMA Wimauma Academy, 18236 U.S. 301 S, between November 2016 and March 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

  2. Tampa Bay deputies head to UF to assist with Richard Spencer's speech

    Public Safety

    Local deputies are heading up to Alachua County in preparation of white nationalist Richard Spencer's speech in Gainesville on Thursday.

    Law enforcement is stepped up in Gainesville on Oct. 18, 2017, ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  3. Gymnast McKayla Maroney alleges sexual abuse by team doctor

    Olympics

    Two-time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested for years by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor, abuse she said started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

    U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney poses after completing her routine on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastic women's qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Maroney posted a statement on Twitter Oct. 18, 2017, in which she said she was molested for years by former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar. [Associated Press]
  4. Top 5 at Noon: Facts on Richard Spencer's Florida visit; Column: Jameis, don't be a hero; Locale Market changes again

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

    White nationalist Richard Spencer (C) and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police in Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Spencer is set to speak at the University of Florida. [Getty]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Uncertainty surrounds Jameis Winston's health

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about the Bucs' quarterback situation, with uncertainty around Jameis Winston's health, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Jameis Winston takes the field for warmups before the Bucs' game against the Cardinals Sunday in Glandale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]