Local News

Two severely burned after touching high-voltage wire

Posted June 7, 2010 5:53 a.m. EDT
Updated June 12, 2010 6:24 p.m. EDT

— A man and woman were severely injured early Monday after scaling a fence surrounding an electrical substation and being shocked by 23,000 volts of electricity, Wake County sheriff's investigators said.

Brian Griffin Rey, 22, of 5500 Edgebury Road, was listed Saturday in critical condition at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Amber Leigh Mills, 21, of 2330-103 Centennial Ridge Way, was also at the burn center in fair condition.

Investigators said the two climbed over the fence at the Progress Energy substation at 3300 Tryon Road after midnight.

Friends said the two were at a party at a neighboring apartment complex when they disappeared.

Multiple witnesses said they saw two people inside the fence around the substation. After hearing an explosion, several rushed to help and were able to help Mills over the fence.

Others stayed with Rey until medical help arrived.

Mills returned to the apartment, traumatized and badly burned, and took a shower to soothe the burns, friends reported.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that although the case is still under investigation, there is evidence that alcohol was a factor in the case. No charges had been filed Monday afternoon.

About 12,000 Progress Energy customers were temporarily without power Monday morning, spokesman Mike Hughes said, and the substation incurred tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Progress Energy officials said they had no idea why the people would have wanted to get inside the facility.

"The substation is very, very clearly marked. There are more than 30 signs around the perimeter of the substation – in English and Spanish," Hughes said. "It's got an 8-foot-tall fence – the highest foot is barbed wire. Fortunately, to most people that does indicate it's something you need to stay away from."