Teen lucky to be alive after dodging live wire
WARWICK teenager Tyler Dempsey is lucky to be alive after he rushed to douse a grassfire sparked by a fallen powerline on Tuesday night.
When the 17-year-old heard a loud cracking sound outside his home he thought the air-conditioner had exploded.
On inspection he found a fire alight opposite his Rosehill Rd home.
Without a second thought, Tyler asked his grandma Tricha to bring their ageing fire extinguisher from beside the oven and raced to dampen the fire.
"I wasn't really thinking about my safety, but the fire was moving fast," he said.
In his selfless effort to help save the day, Tyler unknowingly walked across a fallen powerline and risked his life.
He doused the flames while another neighbour joined in with a shovel.
"When the fire was all out I could see the line," Tyler said.
"A bloke called out from across the road and he said there was a live wire."
An Ergon Energy spokesman said the well-intentioned act was a timely reminder for people to be aware of their surrounds during emergencies.
"If you suspect a fallen powerline stay well away and call 000 and they will contact us to come immediately to assess the situation," he said.
"If you ignore this advice you really do risk your life."
The Ergon spokesman said people did not need to make direct contact with a fallen powerline to receive a fatal shock.
The ground up to five metres from a fallen line can be electrified.
Even in cases of fire, Ergon Energy strongly recommends people stay well away from fallen lines.
Warwick's suburban power lines carry about 11,000volts and a shock as low as 240volts can be fatal.
"If there is a risk to a property, it is better to let it burn down, because you risk losing your life," the spokesman said.
"This young man is very, very lucky to be alive."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officers were called at 5.50pm but the fire was out before they arrived.
The incident was about 200m from John Dee abattoir.
Early chatter on social media suggested cattle may have been injured but Tyler said that was an exaggeration.
"There were no cows nearby," he said.
Tyler's grandmother Tricha is proud of her brave boy.
"If it had not been for his quick thinking - and the help from the neighbours - the fire could have gotten away," she said.
"I've never seen a fire move like that, but the line was shooting sparks out everywhere.
"It goes to show you should keep a fire extinguisher in the house, because you never know when you will need it."