Teen Killed By Electrical Tower
Sempra Warns Of Tower Danger
Posted: 12:30 p.m. PST April 1, 2002
Updated: 12:35 p.m. PST April 1, 2002
SAN DIEGO -- Sempra Energy is reminding people of the dangers of approaching electrical towers after a teenager was killed in Chula Vista Sunday. The 16-year-old boy died after he climbed a 100 foot-high tower and was electrocuted.
A Sempra Energy spokesman said the boy apparently came in contact with 138,000 volts of electricity.
Police had received a report of a boy climbing the tower, but by the time officers arrived, he had been killed.
***************************************Girl burned by power line improving
By LOIS CLERMONT, News Editor
SYRACUSE — An 8-year-old West Chazy girl who was electrocuted Saturday is coming home today.
Keatra LaPier of Dunn Road is "doing wonderfully," said her mother, Alyssa LaPier.
She said Keatra and two cousins were having a "quiet picnic" on top of the family’s fifth-wheel camper, eating crackers and talking, when Alyssa and her sister-in-law, Julie LaPier, told them to get down.
The kids threw down their blankets and were walking off the camper when Keatra was suddenly blown to the ground.
Everyone thought, at first, that Keatra had fallen off the camper. It wasn’t until Alyssa’s cousin, Lori Woodley, saw the burns on Keatra’s feet and the girl’s hair on a power line hanging over the camper that they realized she had been electrocuted.
Alyssa said New York State Electric & Gas has told them that 7,200 volts traveled through that power line.
"It’s a miracle she’s here," Alyssa said.
She said that when she reached Keatra she thought her little girl was going to die. "I stuck my finger in her mouth (to check her breathing), and she bit me .... and then she just went limp."
Alyssa couldn’t cope with what was happening and says she doesn’t know what she would have done if Woodley, who is a nurse, hadn’t been there.
"She stayed with her through the whole time," Alyssa said.
Woodley said Keatra fought hard to live. "She had to struggle to even start breathing. It was terrible. But she was so strong and so tough."
Keatra’s father, Kent LaPier, said the staff at CVPH Medical Center’s Emergency Department was just great.
On Wednesday, Keatra was sore but definitely acting like her regular self, Alyssa said.
The girl has a chipped vertebra, and she may have fractured ribs. Keatra has numerous doctor visits in her future, and long-term effects are possible, doctors have told the family.
"It’s amazing she has recovered so quickly," Alyssa said.
Woodley talked with Keatra on the phone and said the girl doesn’t remember anything up until the time she was being put in the ambulance.
"Thank God," Woodley said. "Wouldn’t it be awful if she could?"
****************************************Westlake Boy Electrocuted At Hotel Pool
Family Was Staying At Mexican Resort
UPDATED: 5:34 p.m. EST April 3, 2002
MEXICO CITY -- A fun-filled family vacation turned into a heart-breaking tragedy for one Westlake family. The family, who was on vacation in Mexico, now has to make funeral arrangements for their 11-year-old son. NewsChannel5's Adam Shapiro spoke with people who knew the victim, Tom Kiczek, best.
School principal Mark Bregar said that Tom was a happy-go-lucky kid with a wide, lovable smile.
"(He was) high-energy, enthusiastic, always (with) a smile on his face, (and) real helpful," Bregar said. "His informal job in the school -- he would take the flag down each day to help the custodians doing that."
Tom's school in Westlake lowered that flag to half-staff Wednesday, because when the students return from spring break Monday, one of the desks will be empty.
Tom died Tuesday when he jumped into a pool at the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel in San Jose de Cabo, Mexico.
Police said that he was electrocuted.
Authorities believe the shock originated from a faulty lighting fixture on the side of the pool. Witnesses told authorities that Tom, who was staying with his sister, father, and mother, dove into the pool shortly after 9 a.m. and immediately went into convulsions.
The boy was rushed to a nearby clinic, where he later died.
Dave Beroisa of Leisuretime Warehouse said that such electrocutions almost never happen in the United States, because the law requires outdoor electrical appliances to wire up to a ground fault circuit interrupter.
"That basically protects you and your family in case something happens where something falls into the pool and electricity is involved," Beroisa said. "It would shut off, no matter what it is."
It's just like the safety plug next to your sink -- you can install the GFCI at the source of your electricity. Or, you can save some money and install it at the plug where you plug in the pool or hot tub. Either way, if something goes wrong, the device will stop the current.
Bay Village Police Chief David Wright was Tom's baseball coach.
"Tommy was always there," he said.
He called him the "Tomenator," because Wright said that he was "one tough, tenacious kid."
Wright said that he is going to miss him.
"I just (told) my children, you know, (that) tomorrow is not promised, so whatever you do and when you say something to somebody, (think of) it in terms of 'If this is the last thing I ever said, is that what I want them to remember?'" he said.
The company that operates the Intercontinental Hotel in Mexico issued a statement Wednesday saying, "The hotel is deeply saddened by the tragic event, and our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the young boy."
The accident caused a brief power outage that affected about 6,000 customers in the South Bay area.
Our Thanks to Bryan, at SAFTENG.net