Reporting Bill Hudson
CENTERVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — It was just around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning when two employees of L & D Sign Company, out of Stillwater, were troubleshooting the illuminated sign at the Central Bank in Centerville.
One of the men was working from a bucket truck, while the other had climbed inside the sign through a side maintenance door.
Tino Capouch was working across the street at a gas station when a customer noticed something terribly wrong. Within minutes, emergency crews were on the scene as firefighters raced up ladder trucks in a frantic attempt to rescue one of the men.
“The first cop arrived on the scene and was running across the field. That’s when (the customer) was like, what’s going on?,” Capouch said.
The man working inside the bank sign was a 47-year-old master electrician from White Bear Lake. Investigators say the man came into contact with an energized control box as he was attempting to troubleshoot a lighting problem.
A large hole in the white plastic sign shows where firefighters tore into the sign in their determined attempt to reach him. Despite their heroics it was too late — he was eventually lowered 20 feet to the ground as paramedics tried desperately to revive him. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A helicopter came and it was here for probably 25 minutes. That’s when we all said like, oh no, this isn’t looking good,” Capouch said.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators arrived on the scene to begin the probe into what happened. A tragedy that ended the life of a veteran electrician, doing what seemed to be a routine job.
Anoka County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, Commander Paul Sommer, said the victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of family.