FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The family members of two young brothers are coping with a devastating loss after the kids died near a Fort Worth park. It happened on Wednesday night near Oakland Lake Park because of a downed power line. The two children were electrocuted, and Oncor is calling it a “tragic accident.”
The brothers have been identified as 12-year-old Alex Lopez and 11-year-old Isaiah Lopez. They were in a heavily wooded area of the park Wednesday night, more than 12 hours after morning storms pummeled North Texas. Alex stepped on the downed power line and was electrocuted. A friend told Isaiah about what happened.
Isaiah went to check on his older brother while the friend ran to find help. But when Isaiah touched Alex, he was electrocuted as well.
Rescuers were called at around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday. According to firefighters, the power lines were still full of energy and arching when they arrived at the wooded area, but may have been hidden to the children by overgrown brush. The lines had also sparked a small grass fire.
“After the storm blew through, a large number of power lines down, tree limbs down, things like that,” Lt. Kyle Faulkner with the Fort Worth Fire Department stated. “So, definitely something everyone needs to be aware of around the city. This is still a hazard.”
Oncor was not at the scene when the boys were electrocuted, fire officials said, but responded after an emergency call from the fire department. The power company is working with authorities to figure out what happened, and has warned others to treat all downed lines as if they are energized.
Officials with Oncor said that they do not have a way to tell when specific power lines are down. They can only tell where any outages are located, and must then patrol neighborhoods in search of the damaged line. With the amount of power lines that came down on Wednesday, and the amount of work that had to be done across North Texas, workers simply did not get to this particular line before it was too late.
The children’s uncle went to the scene to check out where the downed line was located. He said that such a tragedy could have happened to anyone, and that the power line was effectively hidden in the thick brush.
“This is never something that we want to respond to or tell you guys about,” Faulkner said. “But we can’t talk about it enough, about safety around downed power lines. We’re just entering the storm season, and this is something that we’ll continue to deal with.”