Man nearly electrocuted

Witnesses say he was afire on a
transformer before falling down

A man in his 50s was nearly electrocuted yesterday while climbing on a transformer at a Hawaiian Electric Co. substation in Liliha, police and fire officials said.

The man, who was not a HECO employee, was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

Also, power to nearly 850 customers was knocked out after the incident at about 4:30 p.m. Crews restored electricity to all customers within an hour.

HECO spokeswoman Janet Crawford said the substation, on School Street, is secured with a locked gate and walls higher than 8 feet. She said an investigation into why the man was in the facility is ongoing.

"No one is allowed in here," Crawford said. "The person was in here and obviously got in the wrong place."

Witnesses told police the man was on fire on the transformer before he fell to the ground, said Fire Capt. Kenison Tejada.

It is unclear how far the victim fell, but Tejada said the man's fanny pack was found on a piece of equipment about 12 feet off the ground.

Because the facility was locked, fire crews climbed over its walls to get to the man. They then cut the lock to allow paramedics in.

Crawford said it is too early to say whether security will be beefed up at HECO substations because of the incident. She also said HECO officials could recall no similar previous incident.

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