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#181476 - 10/11/08 08:10 AM Con Ed worker dies in Brooklyn blast
Lostazhell Offline
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Registered: 02/21/04
Posts: 1428
Loc: Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
Lest we forget the nature of the beast we all tame on a daily basis.....

Con Ed worker dies in Brooklyn Blast
A Con Ed worker from Hicksville was killed Thursday in a fiery electrical explosion below the streets of East New York, authorities said. A second worker was also injured.

George Dillman, 26, a splicer for the utility was pronounced dead at the scene after the 12:34 p.m. explosion near the corner of Sutter and Euclid avenues.

Craig Penney, 28, of Whitestone, suffered minor burns and was treated at Brookdale Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Penney was on the street and Dillman was 8 to 10 feet below ground, working on a cable carrying 120 volts of electricity when the explosion -- loud enough that witnesses thought it was a bomb -- sparked a fire that sent flames jutting skyward toward Penney.

Dillman tried to get up the ladder he had used to enter the 8-foot hole, but he may have slipped and was trapped below ground, authorities said.

"My friend's down there -- George! George!" one witness heard Penney yelling.

He was dead when firefighters removed his body from the scene two hours later -- after the fire was placed under control, a job that required Con Ed to cut the power from 12 electrical cables running through the manhole, fire officials said.

A colleague at the scene said Dillman, who recently moved to Hicksville, was a hard worker who was planning to marry his girlfriend. Con Ed says he was with the utility for more than three years, while Penney had worked there about 18 months.

The workers were doing routine maintenance -- replacing or repairing cables that run underground, supplying electrical power, Con Ed said. It is rare, the agency said, for a Con Ed worker to be injured, much less killed.

"We are deeply saddened by today's tragedy in Brooklyn involving two of our employees," Con Ed said in a statement released shortly after the incident. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased worker and his injured colleague.

"Our crews work in potentially dangerous conditions 24-7 and perform their jobs with extreme dedication and attention to safety."

Exactly what caused the explosion was unclear. Con Ed is investigating, as is the state Public Service Commission and OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

On Friday, Dillman's family, friends and colleagues from ConEd visited Dillman's home in his childhood neighborhood of College Point in northeast Queens.

The block was jammed with the cars -- and the occasional ConEd truck -- of the mourners, many of whom came with flowers, food and tears.

They said the family was too distraught to speak.
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