Boy who accidentally touched live wire has hand amputated

Problem of downed lines is persistent, residents say

June 15, 2000|By J. Kimball C. Payne | J. Kimball C. Payne,SUN STAFF

A 9-year-old East Baltimore boy who was severely burned Sunday after touching a downed utility wire has had his right hand amputated, relatives said.

Isiah Moore, who was to finish the third grade this week at Tench Tilghman Elementary School, was listed yesterday in serious condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said Staci Vernick, a hospital spokeswoman.

Isiah was "doing better" last night, and a breathing tube is expected to be removed today, said his mother, Dickie Mitchell, in a telephone interview.

The accident occurred about 4 p.m. Sunday as Isiah played in an alley behind his home on the 900 block of N. Rose St. He "tripped and began to fall, and grabbed the live wire to right himself," said Stanley Grebos, Isiah's grandfather.

Brenda Pettigrew, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric company, said yesterday that the company was investigating the incident. She said BGE officials met with community representatives late Tuesday .

Residents complained yesterday that wires had been down for some time and that calls about the problem were ignored.

Grebos, who lives in the same block as his grandson, was preparing a cookout in front of his home Sunday when a boy ran from the alley between North Rose Street and N. Luzerne Avenue, saying Isiah was hurt. Grebos found Isiah lying in the alleyway, unconscious and not breathing.

"I saw he was still holding the wire, so I reached down and slapped it out of his hand," said Grebos, "but it stuck to my hand and started to shock me." A friend then swatted the wire again, freeing Grebos. He administered CPR to his grandson, who coughed up a puff of smoke and began to breathe on his own.

Grebos said downed wires remain a problem. "You look out the window, and there are wires hanging everywhere. I've lived here for 30 years, and I haven't seen the wires replaced once."

Antione Artes, 14, has lived in this area for five years and is keenly aware of free-hanging wires. "Kids play in the alley all the time, but we know the wires are dangerous. Isiah knew not to grab them."

Grebos questioned why it took an accident to prompt BGE to act. "Why does my grandson have to sacrifice his arm to have something done about all the wires hanging everywhere?"

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