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Roofer killed as boom hits power line

The accident sends a blue arc of energy to the ground. A 45-year-old man is killed and another worker is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

photo
[Times photo: Fraser Hale]
One man was killed and another critically injured Monday when a boom struck power lines on E 148th Avenue in Lutz. Trees and power lines left little room to maneuver the boom, officials at the scene said.

By SUSAN THURSTON
© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 11, 2001


LUTZ -- Roofer Jeff Poole had a lot to celebrate on Monday.

He went to his first Buccaneers game on Sunday and was eager to tell his co-workers all about it.

It was his last game.

Poole was electrocuted Monday morning while working at a house in the Ranch Lake area of Lutz off Bearss and Livingston avenues.

Sheriff's officials said Poole and an employee of ABC Supply Co. were jolted when a 30-foot boom attached to a flatbed truck hit overhead power lines.

Employees of ABC Supply had delivered materials to the house at 2905 148th Ave. E and were raising the conveyor boom toward the roof when the operator accidentally swung the device into the power line, said sheriff's Lt. Rod Reder.

Poole and Roosevelt Glover were standing next to the truck at the time of impact. The strike sent a blue arc of energy to the ground, blowing out the back tires of the truck and shocking both men.

Poole, 45, was taken by ambulance to University Community Hospital, where he died. He worked for Tosca Roofing west of Plant City.

Glover, 28, was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. He remained in critical condition Monday night. His address was unknown and officials at the company's headquarters in Beloit, Wis., would not release information about his employment.

The operator of the boom was not hurt. Authorities did not identify him. The incident was under investigation, but it appeared to be an accident, Reder said.

The boom hit a Tampa Electric Co. distribution line that carries electricity to several homes in the neighborhood. The line has 7,620 volts, compared with 120 in the average house. Power was disrupted to about a half-dozen homes in the area for a few hours, TECO spokesman Ross Bannister said. Given the severity of the incident, Bannister said, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate. He said TECO offers safety programs for contractors who work near power lines but didn't know whether the companies had taken them.

Officials at the scene said the small, wooded lot made it difficult to maneuver the boom, which hauls shingles onto the roof. The operator did not have much room to navigate around the trees and wires on the power poles.

Poole worked as a foreman for Tosca Roofing for eight years and lived on Sammons Road in Plant City. His boss, Rick Tosca, said Poole had dropped off a trailer at the Lutz home and was planning to leave about 9 a.m., just before the accident.

"We're grieving," Tosca said. "He was the best employee. He never missed a day of work."

Tosca said Poole loved the Bucs and talked about going to the game all last week. A relative bought him the ticket as an early Christmas gift and it was his first time watching the Bucs from the stands.

"He was so excited," Tosca said. "He wanted to tell everyone about it."

Poole's longtime companion, Nancy, said Monday he was an avid sports fan and fisherman. She described him as a devoted employee and family man. He had a 14-year-old son, Geoffrey, and was helping to raise her four grandchildren, ages 8, 7, 5 and 3.

He had never had a job-related accident. "He loved his work," she said.

-- Susan Thurston can be reached at 269-5303 or thurston@sptimes.com.

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