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Published: Friday, 5/7/2004

Woman trapped by live wires in S. Toledo


A woman was trapped inside her minivan by live electrical wires for almost an hour last night after the vehicle struck a Toledo Edison pole at Heatherdowns Boulevard and North Haven Road in South Toledo, authorities said.

Firefighters who arrived three minutes after the accident assessed the situation and asked for help from the utility but were told it would be at least an hour before an Edison crew could get to the scene to deactivate the live wires. After several more calls to the utility, Edison personnel appeared about a half-hour after they were first called and cut the power.

The woman, whose name was not available and who was not hurt, then was able to get out of her vehicle.

The accident was reported at 7:23 p.m. Fire crews used a meter to ascertain the status of the wires. "The best we could determine, the wires were live,'' said Battalion Fire Chief Phil Cervantes, who was at the scene.

Firefighters called the utility at 7:39 p.m. and reported the emergency, a fire dispatcher said. After they were told that the earliest a utility crew could make it to the scene was in an hour, Chief Cervantes was sent to the accident and more calls were made to the utility. An Edison crew arrived at 8:06 p.m. and shut off the electricity, the dispatcher said.

"When we have an emergency like that, we want the person out as soon as possible," Chief Cervantes said. Any delay "makes our job more difficult only because we cannot operate in a safe manner until the electricity is cut. It hampers our ability to deal with the emergency at hand," the chief said.

The woman seemed in good spirits once the electricity was shut off and she was able to get out of the minivan about 8:20 p.m., said Firefighter Matt Stohl, who also was at the scene.

Several calls by The Blade to the utility seeking comment were not returned for more than 90 minutes. When they were, Gary Keys, an Edison area manager, said he could not comment and would need until today to prepare his response.

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