PF&R Responds to Electrocution and Forty Foot Fall From Power Tower in Sellwood (Photo)

May 15, 2024 22:20


On May 15, 2024 at approximately 5:05 pm, Portland Fire & Rescue was dispatched to an area along the railroad tracks near Sellwood Riverfront Park for an individual who was reportedly climbing a steel powerline tower at this location, was electrocuted, and then fell forty feet into some bushes on the ground below. Per PGE, the line at the top of this tower was a 57,000 volt powerline. Per one witness, this individual was attempting to take a selfie photo when they fell. Another witness told dispatchers that they heard a “transformer blow” and then saw a person fall from the tower to the ground. Per an off-duty paramedic who was on scene when the fall occurred, the individual—in a stroke of incredibly good luck--was conscious and breathing immediately after the fall.


The PF&R crew arrived on scene simultaneously with an AMR ambulance and found the patient conscious, alert, breathing, and ambulatory. The patient was walked a short distance to the ambulance and was immediately transported to a trauma center for further evaluation and treatment. It was unclear to responders whether the patient actually contacted the powerline or whether the powerline arced and caused the electrocution.


Portland Fire & Rescue reminds Portlanders not to place themselves in dangerous situations--whether that means climbing power towers and exposing themselves to high-voltage power lines; standing on cliff edges; or posing close to dangerously cold or fast-moving bodies of water—for any reason or to obtain a photograph. No selfie is worth risking one’s life! We would also like to remind you to call 911 or seek medical evaluation if you are electrocuted. Electrical current can cause unseen internal damage and can also cause dangerous heart arrhythmias, so it is best to be evaluated by a physician, even if your injuries seem minor.


A different, lower-voltage powerline detached from the tower at the time of the incident and fell to the ground across the train tracks. The PF&R crew remained on scene after the patient was transported to secure this dangerous scene from the public until PGE was able to ensure all lines associated with this tower were deenergized, as there were many people out walking in this area in the mild, early-evening weather. We would also like to reminder Portlanders to stay far away from any downed power lines and to always assume any line down is energized and dangerous. If you see a downed power line, carefully back away and call 911.