HONOLULU (KITV4) – Three workers with Hawaiian Electric (HECO) suffered electrical burn injuries following an incident in the area of Pensacola Street and Kamaile Street, Tuesday morning.
According to a HECO spokesperson, the men were working on an underground power line when an “arc flash” occurred, injuring the workers.
An arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“An arc flash, is similar to like, lightning, as far as the intensity of what happens,” licensed electrician Steve Ricci explained.
“It will create a super heated situation that atomizes the copper, or the conductor, whatever the material is made out of, and that actually is an explosion.”
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reported that the men suffered second and third-degree burns in the incident. HECO tells KITV4 two of the men were taken from the scene to Straub Medical Center to be treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The third victim, according to HECO, was treated at the scene and did not need to be taken to the hospital.
The cause of the arc flash has not yet been determined.
The victims have not been identified by name, but EMS did say the victims were all men – ages 34, 36, and 56.
Honolulu Police officers shut down (HPD) Kamaile Street, between Pensacola Street and Piikoi Street, as the incident was investigated.
HECO sent KITV-4 the following statement:
“Hawaiian Electric is investigating the cause of an arc flash that injured three of our workers on a job site today. Fortunately, none of the employees suffered life-threatening injuries and we wish them a speedy and complete recovery. We spend a considerable amount time and effort at Hawaiian Electric to ensure the safety of our workers and the community and we will look closely at what caused this incident to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
According to HECO, all three of the injured employees have been released from the hospital.
Video of an arc flash in our newscasts were provided courtesy of Electrical Power & Safety Company.
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