NORWALK, Conn. – A New York man was severely burned Wednesday morning while working in a Norwalk commercial building.
The man, an electrical contractor in his 60s, was replacing a distribution switch in the main electrical room at 770 Connecticut Ave. when the accident occurred at 8:40 a.m., Norwalk Fire Department Dep. Chief Edward Prescott said. The man suffered arc/flash burn injuries to more than 40 percent of his body and was taken to Bridgeport Hospital's burn unit by Norwalk Hospital paramedics.
Firefighters responding to an automatic fire alarm found the building charged with smoke. Occupants of Crunch Fitness on the second floor evacuated as firefighters checked for spreading fire and ventilated the smoke caused by the burnt wire insulation and burnt electrical components.
A day care area on the first floor was not open at the time. There is also a carpet store in the building.
The victim had been doing the work with an assistant, who was uninjured. The arc of electricity created by the accident was strong enough to trip two circuit breakers on lines feeding the building. Connecticut Power & Light linemen disconnected a third line that fed the building, which did not trip in the accident. All power was turned off to the building until repairs could be made.
Firefighters were on scene until 10 a.m., ensuring that the building was ventilated.
Fire Inspector Broderick Sawyer and Electrical Inspector Sal Cenatiempo are investigating the cause of the accident.