CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – A man was rushed to the hospital Thursday morning after he was shocked while trying to remove Quaker parrots that were nesting on top of an electric pole next to a Walmart in Coral Springs, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 5:45 a.m. in the area of 3801 Turtle Creek Drive.
Two witnesses told Local 10 News they heard what sounded like an explosion when the man was being zapped by the 200,000-volt power lines.
“He was torched from head to toe, so his skin was peeling off,” said Ruben Gonzalez, who works at the Walmart.
Reanna Rai told Local 10 News that her 24-year-old brother Nicholas Rai of Margate was the victim and that he is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Reanna has launched a GoFundMe page, where she notes that Nicholas is the father of two young boys. She wrote on the page that he was trying to save the parrots.
“In the Rai family, the men that were once boys learned their fathers trade,” she wrote. “They catch and climb the heights of what some WOULDN’T dare to save some of the wildlife that would be killed or destroyed by the closeness of the electrical current or otherwise euthanized by electrical companies when sometimes causing electrical shortages in some locations.”
Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Rescue Asst. Chief Joe Skrumbellos said the pole used to remove the birds was vaporized and the victim was shocked.
He was apparently using some type of fiber pole that is meant for landscaping, but not high-tension power lines.
“I overheard him say to the cops that he was trying to save birds from the power lines or something, and that’s what caused the explosion,” Gonzalez said.
Witnesses said the victim’s girlfriend was pouring bottles of water on his burns, but paramedics told her to stop because that only makes it worse.
A Florida, Power & Light crew also responded to the scene to assess the power hazard.
Skrumbellos said the victim was conscious and alert while being transported to Broward Health North. He suffered second and third-degree burns to 50% of his body.
Due to the extent of his injuries, the victim was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Firefighters say he’s lucky to be alive.
“The electrocution itself could have killed him,” Deputy Fire Chief Michael Moser said.