A 22-year-old apprentice lineman has died in an accident while working to restore power after a severe winter storm, an Ohio electric company said.
Blake Rogers worked outside Pedro in Lawrence County around 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 23 when he was killed in an “electrical contact incident,” Buckeye Rural Cooperative, the Gallipolis-based electricity provider, wrote on Facebook.
The company did not provide more detailed information about the incident. The utility provider worked with contracted crews to help restore power to the area while employees dealt with the loss of Rogers.
“The safety of our field workers is always our number one priority, especially when working in such dangerous environments,” the provider wrote.
“You were my greatest gift”
Friends and family mourned Rogers on Facebook.
His mother, Brandi Hale, wrote that she saw her son on December 21 and tried to give him his Christmas presents early, but he wouldn’t take them because he told her he’d be there for Christmas.
“I’ve loved everything about Christmas so far,” she wrote. “Now this will be something I always dread because it will be a constant reminder of the days of losing you.”
Hale wrote that Rogers was her “greatest gift”.
“Hug your kids a little tighter,” she wrote. “Take ALL pictures and videos, even if they complain about it.”
Hale did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.
One of Rogers’ former teachers wrote about it she remembered him as a “cute, energetic, creepy 2nd grader.”
“I’m so proud of you Blake,” Billie Shepard wrote. “You are a Hero.”
On December 25, the Baki Rural Electric Cooperative wrote what would happen fly the flag on your facility at half mast in honor of Rogers.
Pedro is located in southeastern Ohio about 140 miles east of Cincinnati.
A a winter storm hit Ohio in the days leading up to Christmas, bringing sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and hazardous travel conditions, according to the National Weather Service.
“Power outages are increasing this morning as winds slowly pick up,” the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio, tweeted Dec. 23. “This could quickly become a dangerous situation for those living in poorly insulated buildings, given the wind and sub-zero temperatures.”
On December 23, at 7:45 a.m., the Baki Rural Electric Cooperative wrote on Facebook that 133 of its members were left without power. December 24 at 09.05. 590 members had no power, according to the provider. Almost 20 thousand outages were registered across the northeastern part of the state on Dec. 23, WJW reports.
At least 48 people died across the U.S. during the extreme winter weather that affected parts of the country over the Christmas weekend, USA Today reported. About 25 deaths occurred in and around Buffalo, Erie County, New York got about 43 inches snow on Christmas, reports CNN.
More than 1.6 million electric customers were cut off Shortly before 7:45 a.m. on Dec. 24, according to Power Outage US, a website that tracks live data on power outages from utility providers across the country.
Around 3180 flights were cancelled flights to, from, or within the U.S. on Christmas Day and 7,865 were delayed, according to Flightaware.com, a website that tracks global air traffic.
This story was originally published December 26, 2022 at 2:42 p.m.