By Kristi E. Swartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Two Georgia Power workers trying to replace a utility pole were burned when they accidentally hit an underground natural gas line, a Georgia Power spokeswoman said.
The crews were working Birmingham Highway, just south of Providence Road, in Milton early Thursday afternoon when they "came in contact with a natural gas line," Georgia Power spokeswoman Lynn Wallace said.
The gas line exploded, burning one of the workers who was up in a bucket truck. The man jumped 35 feet to safety to escape the flames, Wallace said.
WSB-TV reported the victim experienced burns on 80 percent of his body.
Georgia Power did not identify the man, who was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries, because they wanted to ensure next of kin was notified, Georgia Power spokesman Lisa Frederick said.
A second crew member attempted to help the victim after he jumped, and experienced minor burns on his hands, Frederick said. He was treated on site for his injuries.
Wallace said it's unclear exactly how the accident happened. The line is owned by Atlanta Gas Light.
"We’re certainly going to be looking into it and investigating what went on at the site and why it happened," Wallace said.
According to Frederick, 39 homes in the area had to have their electricity and gas shut off all day. As of 9:30 p.m., service was still out.
Georgia Power, Atlanta Gas Light and the Atlanta Fire Department will investigate the incident collaboratively.
"Any time any accident happens, everyone involved fully cooperates," Frederick said. "We just have to make sure it doesn't happen again."