Man killed in Md. tree-trimming accident

September 3, 2011

A man hired to trim a tree in Takoma Park was killed Saturday when the ladder he was using touched a high-voltage power line, Takoma Park police said.

Police gave his name as Orlando Hernandez, 48, of Hyattsville.

Takoma Park council member Colleen Clay said she thought the work was linked to storm cleanup, but that could not be confirmed. “I would be guessing,” police spokeswoman Catherine E. Plevy said.

Police said a preliminary investigation and interviews showed that Hernandez, a day laborer, had trimmed a tree in the 7400 block of Jackson Avenue about 9:20 a.m., removed some of the wood and then tried to take down the ladder. As it was being moved, police said, part of it touched a 7,620-volt line.

Police said they arrived to find the man amid flames, still in contact with the ladder. Rescue workers could not act until enough of the ladder had melted to stop the flow of current, according to the police account. Police said Hernandez died immediately.

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