Power-line touch fatal to teen

A teenage boy was killed in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday when a pole he was using to gather mangoes touched a power line. It was the second such death in three weeks in Broward. Alexander Sivirian, 17, had climbed nearly to the top of the tree outside a home at 539 NE Fourth Ave. He reached up beyond the top of the tree with a 17-footlong aluminum pole. It touched the line, sending a 7,620-volt surge that knocked Alexander out of the tree, and sent him crashing onto a plastic picnic table. Maria Serrano lives next door and heard Sivirian fall and break the picnic table. She said the young man's family members yelled for her to call 911. Fort Lauderdale paramedics arrived within a few minutes and rushed Alexander to Broward General Medical Center, but it was too late. ''When I saw him he was already dead,'' said Serrano. ''His hair and his feet were burned.'' She said the close-knit family was devastated as paramedics took Sivirian away. Alexander arrived in the United States only about a year ago from El Salvador, and was working at a restaurant, his family said. He lived in the tiny house with his older brother José; José's wife Marisol Flores and their three children; and Favio Flores, 75, a family friend who said he was the boys' guardian and practically raised them. A third brother, Nicolas also lives in Fort Lauderdale. ''They're such good people,'' said Serrano. It's horrible. Almost every day they were getting mangoes from that tree. I never thought something like this would happen.'' Family members said Alexander enjoyed sports, Latin music and watching Spanish telenovelas. ''He was such a great kid, such a hard worker,'' said Favio Flores. ``He never gave me any trouble.'' Detective Mike Reed of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said that electrocution appeared to be the cause of death, but an autopsy would determine for sure whether the young man was killed by electricity or by the fall. The tree, which is about 30 feet tall, doesn't touch the power lines, which FPL officials say are 32 feet above the ground. A 55-year-old man was electrocuted under identical circumstances last month while picking mangoes with a pool net in unincorporated Broward near Pompano Beach. Eduardo Sandoval, 55, was on a 24-foot extension ladder at 248 NE 40th Ct. when the pole he was holding apparently came into contact with power lines. ''There's nothing we can do to prevent this from happening,'' said FPL spokesman Bill Swank. ``When [the pole] made contact, the electricity flows down the pole. That's why we're forever encouraging people not to use poles in trees or anywhere near the line.''

courtesy of www.Safteng.net