New York, NY Electricity Accident, Oct 1889

A Lineman's Horrible Death.

NEW YORK, Oct. 11. -- An electric light man met with a horrible death at the corner of Centre and Chambers streete[sic] this afternoon from contact with an electric light wire. He was employed by the Western Union company are presented a terrible sight as he died on a network of wires, in mid-air, while the deadly fluid actually made his body sizzle and blood poured out on the sidewalks and over the cloths of the horrified spectators. The accident occurring in the middle of the day in one of the busiest parts of the city was witnessed by a large crowd of people. The man's body lay limp and motionless over the mass of wires attached to the crosstrees of the poles. Foremen brought out a ladder and one went up with a pair of shears to cur the wires. The lineman was found to be dead.
The man's face was turned toward the walk. In 15 minutes it had burned off half the face of the victim. His left arm was also seen to be burning and every few seconds the blue flames spurted out from various parts of his body. Hundreds of people stood shivering as they looked at the awful sight overhead. No one dared to go near; even the firemen's faces blanched with horror. Lineman BENSON, the dead man's companion, was asked why he did not go up. He simply said, “It's no use; he's dead. I don't know the electric wires. I can't help him. I was on the other pole and don't know anything about them.” All this was said in a catching voice, as of a man completely overcome with horror and emotion.
Immediately after the accident Mayor GRANT was notified. The mayor gave orders that the wires which caused the accident be cut at once. His secretary said that the mayor would act promptly in the matter and it is possible he may order the cutting of all electric light wires above ground to-night, whereupon a large part of the city will be in darkness.

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1889-10-12