Painter killed after contact with live electrical wires in Salem

Painter killed after contact with live electrical wires in Salem

SALEM, Mass. — A painter in Salem died Tuesday after he came in contact with live electrical wires while working at the fire house.

The 59-year-old man was working on the painting the window sills at the firehouse on Loring Ave around 2:45 p.m. when the incident happened.

Witnesses say it was a scary scene.

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"I just seen a flame I heard a loud pop and I saw the guy collapse slowly,” Jenny Correia said. "It was horrible, it wasn't good at all."

The man was unconscious when police arrived and never regained consciousness. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

National Grid was called to shut off the power to the wires before police could lower the bucket the man was working in.

"We couldn’t touch anything until national grid came and killed the power,” Deputy Salem Fire Chief Gerry Giunta said. "It's very frustrating but my job is to keep all the firefighters safe and we don't want to have more than one tragedy in a day.”

Salem Police and OSHA are investigating the death.

The painter's identity has not yet been released, but he worked for Baystate Building and Remodeling in Peabody. The company was contracted by the city to replace the windows and repaint the trim as part of a renovation project.

The company's lawyer released a statement on behalf of its owner, Tommy Lewis.

"Tommy Lewis is devastated by the death of his longtime friend. They worked together for years and knew each other even before that, having grown up together.  He was a reliable & skilled painter. Our condolences extend to his family and we will cooperate fully with the authorities to help determine the cause of this tragic accident. "

Lewis and other workers were on the scene when the man was killed. Guinta praised them for being composed enough to not touch the charged lift, even though it meant watching a close friend die.

"The workers were devastated," he said.