Flash Fire in Electrical Switch Burns 3 Workers

Three workers were burned, one seriously, when a flash fire erupted Monday morning in a Southern California Edison Co. electrical switch in Irvine.

The men were taken to the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center in the City of Orange for treatment after the 8:44 a.m. incident. The accident occurred at a housing construction site near the intersection of San Carlo and San Marino streets.

Paul Cook, 23, was listed in serious condition, while John Hunter, 40, was in good condition, medical center officials said. The third man, Tom Skuratow, 41, was treated and released, they said.

The men were working on wiring in the above-ground, 12,000-volt switch when they apparently touched two live wires together and caused the flash fire to envelop them, said Patti Range, an Orange County Fire Department spokeswoman. She said the men apparently thought the wires were dead.


The men ran from the switch, their clothes on fire, and co-workers wrapped jackets around the men to put the flames out, Range said.

The flash fire knocked out power for 30 seconds to 3,000 nearby homes.