Electric left on; worker killed
By APRIL SIMPSON St. Petersburg Times
An employee of Thermo-Cool Air Conditioning and Heating was electrocuted Friday morning after incorrectly thinking that circuit breaker wiring was turned off while he installed an air conditioning/heat pump unit at a residence. Jack Petrotto of Leesburg was pronounced dead at 10:48 a.m. He was installing the equipment at 8265 E Turner Camp Road, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office reported. Petrotto's partner, Brian Smith, was standing outside when he heard a pop and a buzzing sound, said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney. He ran inside to investigate. The homeowner, Henry Wilcox Jr., told him Petrotto, 44, had been electrocuted. Wilcox said he heard a snap and saw Petrotto's leg protruding from the ceiling, Tierney said. According to a sheriff's report, both new and old wiring ran to the new part of the electrical heat pump system. While the new wiring was shut off, the old wiring was not, causing Petrotto to incorrectly think there was no power flowing through the system. The details of the accident were explained by county electrical inspector Sal Trimarca to Deputy Kurt Lynn, who filed the report. Wilcox told deputies he had been told by Petrotto the circuit breaker had been turned off. Wilcox declined comment to a reporter. The body was removed by the Medical Examiner's Office and transported to Leesburg for an autopsy. Gregory Kohler, who knew Petrotto for about a year, was to become Petrotto's father-in-law; his daughter was to marry Petrotto in about a month. Kohler called the accidental death a tragedy. He described Petrotto as a good guy and a hard worker. But above all things, he'll remember Petrotto as a storyteller. "He had a story about a gator, 50 foot long, he caught," Kohler said between chuckles. "Turned out to be 3 foot." Petrotto is survived by his mother and sister, both from New York, and a son and daughter in Kissimmee. Thermo-Cool Air Conditioning and Heating, 201 Miller St. Unit B in Fruitland Park, serves Citrus and surrounding counties, according to advertising on the company's truck. Company officials declined comment on the issue until Monday.