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Community News: Southeast

HUNTINGTON PARK : Man Electrocuted by Transformer

July 31, 1994|SIMON ROMERO

A transient trying to retrieve scrap metal was electrocuted last week after he broke into a Southern California Edison substation and stepped on a transformer, police said, knocking out power to more than 300 Edison customers for a few hours.

The body of the victim, who was identified from fingerprints at the county coroner's office, has not yet been claimed by relatives.

Police said the man apparently broke into an unmanned substation at 6538 Rugby Ave. Tuesday by climbing over a chain-link fence, scaling an exterior building ladder and entering a second story window. Once inside, the 41-year-old trespasser reportedly began to strip copper cables from the walls and electrical machinery.

He deposited some of the cables at the rear of the location, police said, and then entered a locked enclosure area posted with signs indicating high voltage and restricted access. The man apparently ignored the danger signs and climbed over the protective fencing in search of more copper. While still touching the protective fence, he stepped onto a transformer.

Edison spokesman Charlie Bashum said the average home outlet carries 120 volts of electricity; about 4,000 volts passed through the man's body.

Edison workers sent to investigate the power outage found the substation's rear door unlocked and the man's body inside the locked transformer enclosure.

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