CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Four firefighters were injured – two seriously – when a fire truck’s ladder got too close to a power line after they helped college students take part in an ice bucket challenge, police said Thursday.
The firefighters just finished dousing cold water on the Campbellsville University marching band and were lowering the ladder when they were shocked by electricity. Two firefighters were in the bucket and two were on the main part of the truck.
The two in the bucket were at a hospital burn unit. One was in critical condition and the other was stable, Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said. The other firefighters were treated and released.
No students were hurt.
“It’s tragic, I feel for all the band members who were still there when it happened, that they had to see that,” said nursing student Julie Smith, who said she was nearby when it happened and spoke to a couple of students who witnessed it.
About 100 students and people from the small town in central Kentucky gathered on a lawn at the center of campus to pray for the firefighters Thursday evening.
“A number of our students, of course, the entire marching band, witnessed the event and so we’re concerned about them and the tragedy of this accident,” university president Michael Carter told WHAS-TV.
Power was knocked out for about an hour to 4,500 customers, including the school, said Natasha Collins, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Utilities, which owns the line. The Public Service Commission will investigate whether the line had the correct clearance from the ground, trees and structures, said Andrew Melnykovich, a spokesman for the state Public Service Commission.
The police chief said the ladder never touched the line, but it carried such a high voltage, it could shock people close to it.
Police said Capt. Tony Grider, 41, and Simon A. Quinn, 22, were in the fire truck bucket. Grider, a 16-year veteran of the department, was in critical condition at the University of Louisville Medical Center Burn Unit. Quinn, a part-time firefighter, was in stable condition.
Firefighter Keith Bricken, who has worked with Grider for about three years, said he was a tough firefighter who trained colleagues.
“He’s real outgoing. He loves to help in any way he can,” Bricken said.
Also injured was Capt. Steve Marrs, 37, who has been with the department for 11 years, and Alex Johnson, 28, who has been there three years.
Campbellsville University, a private college, is a Christian institution that has about 3,600 students, according to its website. It is about 65 miles south of Louisville.
The ice bucket challenge has been sweeping social media websites. The ALS Association said it has raised more than $41 million.