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Fallen power line leads to melted cable box, man shocked in shower

Posted at 11:04 PM, Mar 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-18 06:58:46-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A tree trimming company hit a hot power line Tuesday with either a bucket truck or falling branch and triggered several bizarre “back-feeding” incidents on Walnut Avenue in Colonial Heights, firefighters said. The Colonial Heights Fire Department put out a small fire that started in a downstairs bedroom of a Walnut Avenue home.  The back of a small TV melted and the cable box was singed. Across the street from that home, a man was shocked in his shower.

Melted cable box

"I hope he's going to be okay," said neighbor Chris Martin, who came to see what the commotion was about.

"He was in shower and cutting it off, that's when he was shocked," said Dep. Fire Marshal Joe Boisseau.

Fire investigators said they believed a tree company doing work triggered a string of back feeding incidents.

"Their boom or tree branch clipped a power line and the line fell causing a back feed of power," said Boiseau.

Hot Wires 2

Once a line falls, it can energize a surrounding area, firefighters said. Electricity could follow a pipe into a home, shocking people inside. They said it could also back feed through a cable line and cause a nearby home to catch fire.

"In these older homes, the power system is grounded to the water pipe because they used galvanized piping in the old days," said Boisseau.

Firefighters went door-to-door asking homeowners if they smelled or saw anything suspicious. They're asking everyone living on Walnut to keep an eye out for signs of power problems.