County power line worker’s treatment for burns continues

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 26, 2010, at 9:49 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Maine Public Service apprentice lineman remains in critical condition at a Boston hospital more than two weeks after suffering third-degree burns on 50 percent of his body after a high-voltage accident.

Zane Wetzel, 25, of Mars Hill remains in the intensive care unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday. He has undergone several skin grafting surgeries to treat the burns he suffered in the Oct. 12 accident at an MPS substation on Parkhurst Siding Road in Presque Isle.

Wetzel, an MPS employee since January, was with other MPS crews at the work site when he suffered a flash burn to his chest, back, arm and neck. Company officials said the accident was comparable to getting struck by lightning.

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

Wetzel’s wife, Courtney Hartin Wetzel, has kept well-wishers updated on his condition through her daily blog, www.projectprettyblog.com. The blog typically was about interior design and home improvement, but she has switched the focus temporarily.

She has written at least daily since the accident, as family members have remained at Wetzel’s bedside. Stan Hartin, Wetzel’s father-in-law, is also an MPS employee.

According to the blog, Wetzel was hit with 69,000 volts of electricity during the accident, which took place around 12:30 p.m. He remains heavily medicated but is no longer on a ventilator. Doctors have been working to stave off infection and treat the 25-year-old man’s intermittent fevers. He has spoken briefly to his wife, fellow family members and medical staff.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited the accident scene, but OSHA officials were not available for comment Tuesday.

This is the first lost-time accident at Maine Public Service Co. since 2008, according to company officials.

Maine Public Service Co. has released contact information for the family. Visit 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.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/10/26/news/bangor/county-power-line-workerrsquos-treatment-for-burns-continues/ printed on November 27, 2014