Gwinnett man survives 35-foot power pole climb, slip
By ALAN JUDD
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Saturday, March 07, 2009
In retrospect, it must be hard for a 21-year-old Duluth man to see why this was a good idea.
Of course, hindsight isn’t only 20/20, it’s usually also sober.
Early Saturday morning, after what authorities believe was an evening of imbibing, the man walked out of his subdivision off Old Peachtree Road. In a nearby field, for reasons yet to become clear, he began climbing a tower that supports high-voltage power lines.
Ascending into the darkness, he ignored a companion’s suggestion that he had gone far enough.
Then something, maybe static electricity, sparked what neighbors described as an explosion and a flash fire.
Thirty-five feet off the ground, the man lost his footing.
He began falling.
But, somehow, the leg of his pants caught on the metal tower. He was dangling there, conscious, when Gwinnett County firefighters arrived just before 4 a.m.
Because of rough terrain, firefighters had to hike to the scene, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, a fire department spokesman. The man’s friends and family waited in a cul-de-sac in the 2400 block of Twin Creek Court.
After Georgia Power shut off the electricity, three firefighters from the department’s technical rescue team climbed the tower. They used ropes and a harness to lower the man to the ground at 6:12 a.m.
He was in stable condition, with burns and cuts, at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Rutledge said.
Police had filed no charges as of late Saturday, and authorities declined to identify the man. But they marveled at his escape from peril.
“When I say he was very fortunate,” Rutledge said, “there’s a lot behind that.”