Man Critically Burned After Metallic Balloons Cause Power Line to Explode

Floating metallic balloons hit a power line in South Los Angeles, causing the line to short circuit and fall on an area resident, who was critically injured, police said.

Carlos Olivio, 47, suffered third-degree burns after the 4,800-volt line was brushed by at least one of the helium-filled balloons and fell about 3:15 p.m.

“Like a shotgun blast, the line exploded, then shattered and fell on the resident and wrapped around his legs,” Los Angeles Police Sgt. Ted Spicer said.

A neighbor, Jose Randy, saw Olivio and “in great jeopardy to himself” used a wooden broom to untangle the man from the live wire, Spicer said. “If it wasn’t for Mr. Randy’s quick thinking and actions, the man would have definitely been dead on the spot.”


Spicer said the balloons possibly drifted into the 2200 block of Ellendale Avenue from nearby festivities for the Los Angeles Marathon. He said helium-filled metallic balloons have been outlawed in other cities because they pose a safety hazard, but have not been banned in Los Angeles.

Olivio was reported in critical condition at County-USC Medical Center late Sunday.