The family of two boys who were electrocuted by downed power lines filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Oncor this week, saying the electric delivery company knew or should have known about the downed lines and should have warned the public.
They were exploring a wooded area about 20 yards into a thicket of trees and brush just beyond a ball field, family members have said. Alex stepped in a puddle that was electrified by downed power lines on March 29. Isaiah tried to save him but received an electric shock as well.
The lawsuit states that Isaiah, witnessing the electrocution of his brother, told his friends: “Go get help. I’m going to save Alex.”
“Both succumbed to a painful and agonizing death,” the lawsuit states.
According to Geoff Bailey, an Oncor spokesman, a storm on March 28 downed dozens of power lines and at its height left more than 200,000 in the Metroplex without power.
While the lawsuit states that Oncor’s technology should have alerted the company that the lines were down, Bailey said that the company relies on consumers and first responders to report downed lines.
“The technology that would tell us whether a line was down does not exist,” Bailey said.
Bailey also said that customers are warned to treat downed power lines as though they are live.
“I would again like to express my condolences for the Lopez family for their loss,” Bailey said in a statement. “While Oncor is aware of the lawsuit, we have not yet been served. Oncor does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.”
During significant storms, Oncor first restores power to first responders, then to places such as hospitals, and then repairs are done that will most quickly restore power to the greatest number of customers at once, Bailey said.
“We have dozens, sometimes hundreds of crews working after big storms and a lot of this is being done simultaneously,” Bailey said.
The lawsuit also faulted Oncor for not trimming the vegetation growing around the power lines, which it calls a risk to the public.
This story contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.