A 14-year-old Scarsdale youth miraculously survived electrical burns received while he and two companions were climbing a 138,000 voltage tower Tuesday afternoon.
Emiliano (David) Fletcher, 14, received second and third-degree burns over approximately 65 percent of his body and was life-flighted to Hermann hospital after firefighters used rappelling gear to rescue the youth from the 98 foot Houston Lighting and Power tower. The tower is located between the subdivisions of Sagemont and Wood Meadow. Firefighters also rescued Glen Letwich, 13, of Wood Meadow who was transported to Clear Lake Hosiptal and released after being treated for shock and minor burns.
Glen's 16 year old brother Ray, was was also on the tower at the time of the incident, received first and second degree burns primarily on his left arm and hand.
Authorities presume Ray was climbing down the tower at the time Fletcher got too close to the conductor, causing the electricity to arc through his body.
The arcing resulted in a bright flash and an explosion which brought nearby residents to the scene.
Ray was able to reach the ground on his own and was picked up by the Houston ambulance and transported to the hospital.
It took approximately an hour for the two remaining boys to be rescued. "It's a miracle those boys are alive," said Herman Pop Jr., a supervisor for HL&P. "110 volts can kill you. Not many get away from one (an electrical charge) like this." According to Popp, it is not necessary to touch the wires to make the electricity arc. It will arc is someone gets too close.
While at the scene of the accident, Fletcher's mother said the boy had been missing from home for the previous 32 hours. Neighbors reported seeing the trio climbing the tower the previous day. The boys were rescued by area residents Boe Beaty and Bob Korshak and League City resident Bill Pollard. All three were serving the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department at the the time of the incident. They were aided by Marvin Zemlicka of HL&P.
The following weeks' updates:
Emiliano Fletcher, 14, one of the boys injured in last week's HL&P tower climb, is listed in serious condition in the pediatric intensive care unit at Hermann Hospital. He has had two operations in the past week to remove burned skin and to perform skin grafts. According to his mother, Delores Fletcher, he might not need further surgery, providing the skin grafts take.
Forty units of blood are still needed, and persons are encouraged to donate at the Hermann Hospital blood bank.
Fletcher says, "Emiliano is able to talk, and appreciate the calls and cards from all his friends, teachers, and neighbors.
The other two toys who were involved in the accident are in better condition. Glen Leftwich, 13, was taken to Clear Lake Hospital, where he was treated and released the same day. His brother, Ray Leftwich, 16, is listed in stable condition in the burn intensive care unit at Hermann Hospital.
Emiliano Fletcher, 14, one of the three boys injured in an attempt to climb an HL&P voltage tower July 5, is still listed in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit at Hermann Hospital.
Fletcher had already undergone surgery three times and is schedules for another tomorrow for removal of dead tissue and skin grafting.
According to Hermann burn specialist Dr. Donald Parks, it is a miracle the boy even survived. It will not be know until after tomorrow's surgery how long Fletcher will remain in intensive care.
An account has been set up at First City Bank - Almeda Genoa to help defray the $1700 a day cost for Fletcher's intensive care. Donations can be made at the bank to account #5238639.