Injured Maine Public Service worker still in hospital

Posted Oct. 15, 2010, at 3:38 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Maine Public Service apprentice lineman who suffered third-degree burns on 50 percent of his body in a high-voltage accident on Tuesday remains at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Zane Wetzel, 25, of Mars Hill has had several skin grafting surgeries, officials at Maine Public Service said Friday. His wife, Courtney Hartin Wetzel, is keeping well-wishers updated on his condition through a daily blog.

Brent Boyles is the president and chief executive officer of Maine & Maritimes Corp., the parent company of Maine Public Service Co. He said Friday that he is in daily contact with Stan Hartin, Wetzel’s father-in-law and also an MPS employee.

“He has had a few surgeries to remove burned skin and he’s had skin grafts completed,” Boyles said. “His family is with him and they are doing well.”

Boyles said Wetzel, an MPS employee since January, was with other MPS crews at a substation on Parkhurst Siding Road when he suffered the flash burn. The accident was comparable to getting struck with a lightning bolt, according to Boyles.

Wetzel was taken by Crown Ambulance to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle and then flown to the Boston hospital.

Courtney Hartin Wetzel wrote on her blog Friday that her husband suffered some complications early that morning and remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital. He is on a ventilator and a chest tube has been inserted to drain fluid from his lungs.

Boyles said Friday afternoon that Wetzel remains in stable condition, but hospital officials would not verify his condition for the Bangor Daily News.

He said the company is “very proud” of its safety record and has not had a lost-time accident since 2008.

“This is a very unfortunate accident,” he said Friday. “Accidents are very unusual for us, especially accidents that involve electricity. It once again emphasizes the fact that electricity is dangerous, and you have to be very careful. Electricity is unpredictable.”

Maine Public Service Co. has released contact information for the family. Go to www.projectprettyblog.com to leave messages and get updates, or send cards and letters to: Brigham & Women’s Hospital c/o Zane Wetzel ICU Room 8C #51, 75 Francis St., Boston, MA 02115.

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