Video shows utility worker narrowly escape death when downed wire bursts into flames

Utility worker escapes fiery wires

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ (WCBS/CNN) – Police dashcam video shows a New Jersey utility worker survive a brush with death.

It all started Monday around 5 a.m. at an intersection in Manchester Township during a heavy rainstorm.

Downed power lines sparked, causing spectacular electrical explosions.

Come daybreak, a JCP&L utility technician worked on a downed power line. The video shows him drop the wire to the ground, when it suddenly bursts into flames.

The worker then runs for his life through the fire.

Sgt. Chris Hemhauser of the Manchester Township Police Department saw it all firsthand.

“I immediately felt that, ‘This guy is in danger,’" he said.

The harrowing scene was recorded on Hemhauser’s squad car dashcam.

Hemhauser said he immediately bolted over to the worker to check if he was OK, urging him to go to the hospital.

"And he’s like, ‘No, I'm good,’" Hemhauser said.

Fortunately, the worker wasn’t injured.

Hemhauser said prior to the explosion, a JCP&L employee on scene told him the downed power line was de-energized, which he believes is why the worker in the video was handling it.

A spokesperson for JCP&L said she couldn’t comment on that, saying, "We have procedures to follow to keep our employees safe. Whether those procedures were followed will be part of our investigation."

JCP&L said as per safety protocol, the worker was wearing specialty rubber boots, gloves and a yellow jumpsuit, which are all fire retardant and non-conductive to electricity, which the company says likely contributed to its worker escaping from the fire uninjured.

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