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Three Electrocuted in Construction Accident

September 26, 1989

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ An accident at a construction site left three men dead and three others hospitalized for burns suffered when a scaffolding came in contact with power lines carrying enough electricity to supply a small town.

The men were moving the 25-foot scaffolding Monday when it struck lines carrying 69,000 volts, said Doug Reardon, president of Target Construction Co., the general contractor. No one was on the scaffolding.

″It appears to me a bunch of guys were pushing the scaffold from one job site to another and just didn’t look up. They never knew what hit them,″ said police Sgt. Clifford Davis.

The workers were putting up aluminum siding on the building, which is to be a distribution center for Worthington Industries Inc.

Authorities identified the dead as Greg Donahue, 34, J.H. Claytor, 31, and Terry L. Titus, 38.

Thomas Moore, 39, was in critical condition Monday night after surgery for second- and third-degree burns at the Ohio State University Hospital.

Willard Tackett, 39, was in critical condition at St. Ann’s Hospital in surburban Westerville. Jeff Grabill, 26, was listed in fair condition Monday night at Riverside Hospital with extensive burns to his left hand.

The deaths were being investigated as an industrial accident, police said. Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials also were investigating. Regional Director George Kunz said it would be at least a week before his office could determine if there were any violations.

Officials at Columbus Southern Power Co. said the cable carried enough electricity to supply a small town. The line primarily fed Worthington Industries’ specialty steel-making plant and was one of two circuits serving an Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Ray Smith of Scioto-Darby Concrete Co., which was pouring the concrete floor to the building, said he was inside the building when he heard an explosion and saw ″a huge orange ball of fire shooting way up in the sky.″

Worthington Industries was without power for about five hours and sent 200 employees home, said spokesman Bruce Ruhl.

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