A 29-year-old man suffered a broken wrist and other non-life-threatening injuries when he jumped from a construction-truck bucket that had burst into flames.
“Right as I got about 15 feet from the guy up the pole… I heard this sort of bang and then he went up in flames,” said Angela Hiebert, a nearby resident who happened to be out for a run when the incident unfolded in front of her at the corner of 3A Avenue and 171 Street just before 2 p.m.
“As soon as he went up in flames, he unhooked himself and just jumped. I watched his head hit the ground.”
Hiebert estimates he jumped from a height of 20-30 feet.
Police, fire and ambulance crews all attended, and the man was transported to hospital.
It is unclear what caused the fire, or what the victim was working on when it broke out. At the scene an hour later, a saw he had been using appeared to be resting on the power lines, still running.
Hiebert, 32, was the first person to the man’s side. He was conscious but in shock, and his boots were still on fire, she said. The man asked what happened and complained that his arm hurt, she said.
Hiebert began first aid, drawing on firefighter training she received years ago but never got to use – due to an injury sustained about four years ago, she had to change careers. She stabilized the man’s neck and attended to a gash on his chin, she said.
The man did the right thing to jump, Hiebert said.
If it had happened on any other Tuesday, Hiebert, who is five months pregnant, would have been at work. She had booked this day off to get a little time for herself.
“What are the chances I was there at that moment?” she said. “I’m just glad I was there.”
Nearly 1,000 BC Hydro customers were without power for about two hours as a result of the incident; as far east as 200 Street and south of 16 Avenue.
WorkSafe BC is investigating.