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Man critically injured by high-voltage power line in Santa Barbara

Firefighters survey the scene on San Pascual Street after a large branch fell to the street, taking down a high-voltage power line that critically injured a man.
Firefighters survey the scene on San Pascual Street after a large branch fell to the street, taking down a high-voltage power line that critically injured a man. Noozhawk

A man was critically injured early Tuesday when he came in contact with a high-voltage power line that had been brought down by a falling tree branch on the city's Westside, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Firefighters were dispatched shortly after midnight to a report of a tree fire on the 700 block of San Pascual Street, said fire Capt. Steve Berman.

When crews arrived on scene, they found a large tree branch blocking the roadway, and live power lines.

The branch, from a tree that had been damaged in Sunday’s “microburst” storm, had taken down a 16,000-volt line, and also damaged several vehicles, Berman said.

Firefighters had to move cautiously because the power line was still live.

Moments later, emergency personnel saw a man and woman dragging something, and realized it was an injured man, Berman said.

The victim had suffered major burn injuries from contact with the high-voltage line, and was taken immediately to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, then reportedly transferred to a burn center in Southern California.

“Anytime you get hit by one of those, you’re not going to be in good shape,” Berman noted.

The name of the victim, a man believed to be in his 30s, and details on his condition were not available.

Once Southern California Edison Co. crews were able to de-energize the fallen lines, firefighters doused the fire and made a full assessment of the scene.

They determined that the remaining upright portion of the tree was leaning toward a multi-unit apartment building at 721 San Pascual, and being held up by a nearby palm tree, Berman said.

Some 25-30 people were evacuated from the building, Berman said, and crews got to work cutting down the rest of the tree and removing the branch from the roadway.

Witnesses told Noozhawk that the couple who had rescued the injured man also had come to the aid of two people on Sunday after a tree branch landed on their vehicle.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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