Public Service Commission
PSC Closes Review of Campbellsville Firefighter Electrocution - No safety violations found on the part of Kentucky Utilities Co.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has completed its review of an Aug. 21 accident that killed one Campbellsville firefighter and injured three others.
The review found that the 69-kiloVolt transmission line involved in the accident was built, maintained and operated in accordance with all applicable safety standards. Therefore, the PSC will take no further actions in the matter, the agency said in a letter to Kentucky Utilities Co., which owns and operates the line.
Two firefighters from the Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Department sustained severe burns in the accident. Information provided to the PSC indicated that both of the firefighters, who were in an aerial truck bucket, came into direct contact with the transmission line.
One of them, Capt. Tony Grider, succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 20. Two firefighters on the ground suffered less severe injuries.
Because the PSC’s jurisdiction is limited to reviewing the utility’s compliance with safety regulations, the review did not look into or draw any conclusions about the underlying cause of the accident.
“While the PSC acknowledges the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered in this accident, the responsibility to determine its cause rests with other agencies,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said.
Just before the accident, the fire truck had been used in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) “ice bucket challenge” event at Campbellsville University. The aerial platform, which can extend as far as 95 feet, was being moved when the contact with the transmission line occurred.
Kentucky Utilities submitted information to the PSC showing that the transmission line at the point of contact was more than 40 feet above the ground, which is about twice the minimum required clearance.
The PSC staff review of the information submitted by Kentucky Utilities found that the line met safety standards.
Although the letter sent today to Kentucky Utilities closes the matter, the PSC encouraged the company to “review the details of this incident” to determine whether additional safety measures could prevent a similar event in the future.
In addition, the PSC letter “strongly recommends that (Kentucky Utilities), as well as other electric utilities across the state, work closely with the fire departments in their service territories to review safety practices that should be used when aerial ladder trucks are in close proximity to energized lines.”
With the completion of the PSC review, the Kentucky Utilities report on the incident becomes a matter of public record. It and the letter to the utility are now available on the PSC website at the following link:
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 85 employees.