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Electrocution Victim Still Unidentified

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man who died after being jolted by 66,000 volts of electricity at a Southern California Edison Co. substation on Thanksgiving Day was still unidentified Monday, police said.

The electrocution occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday when the man climbed over a fence surrounding the substation in the 900 block of Laguna Canyon Road and crawled onto an 8-foot-high circuit breaker, Capt. Bill Cavenaugh said. The man then either touched or came within six inches of a transformer.

The shock from the electrical current threw him about 10 feet to a steel frame and then onto the ground, police said.

The man was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died Friday of burns over 90% of his body, Cavenaugh said.

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Investigators did not know whether the electrocution was a suicide or an accident, but it caused a 30-second power outage for 13,500 homes Thursday night.

At the time, three migrant workers sleeping near the substation heard an explosion and saw flashes of light, police said.

“They thought the station was going to blow so they ran down to the beach,” Cavenaugh said.

Half an hour later, the men came back and were about to go back to sleep when they heard moaning nearby. They found a man with most of his clothes burned to ashes, except for his belt and shoes, lying on the ground in the center of the plant, police said.

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They recognized the man as a fellow migrant worker whom they knew only by the nickname of “Mexico,” investigators said.

“He was described as having had a nervous personality and often acted strangely,” Cavenaugh said.

Officers who came to the scene found bloodstains on the steel frame, where the man had landed before falling to the ground. Investigators also found burned cigarettes and a partially filled bottle of beer nearby.

Anyone with information about the man’s identity is asked to call Laguna Beach police at (714) 497-0701.


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