Two WSB-TV employees have been treated and released from Grady Memorial Hospital after the news truck they were operating caught fire and exploded.
The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon around 12:30 p.m. at the entrance of the Fulton County Jail on Rice Street.
WSB reporter Tom Jones and photographer Leonard Raglin were exiting the parking lot of the jail when the pole that lifts equipment on the roof of the truck struck a powerline, said Tracy Flanagan, spokeswoman for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
The mast is supposed to be lowered when the vehicle is in motion, according to WSB-TV.com.
Jail personnel, including Captain Reginald Turner, attempted to get Jones and Raglin’s attention as they left the jail, said Flanagan, to warn them the mast was still up.
The mast hit a Georgia Power high voltage line coming from a substation across the street. The line, according to James Polite with the Atlanta Police Department, carries 115,000 volts of electricity.
The impact caused a loud explosion, destroyed the truck and also left a large crater under the vehicle.
But Jones and Raglin survived.
They both suffered smoke inhalation and burns and were transported to Grady Hospital in stable condition.
“Georgia Power workers on the scene were surprised anyone lived, said Polite in a statement. “The 115,000 volts traveled through the vehicle and ground, also hitting and destroying a water main which caused water to be out in the area.”
The incident did not cause any major extended problems for Georgia Power customers though. There was a very short outage in the area, according to Georgia Power officials. The incident de-energized a line but they were able to re-route electricity.
Crews have been on site to repair the line since early afternoon but are unsure when repairs will be complete.