Board of Public Utilities investigates response following electrocution

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KANSAS CITY, Kan.  --  A live electrical wire at a park killed one man and hurt another over the weekend.

It happened at Rosedale Park, where a disc golf tournament had been taking place on Saturday, until severe weather moved in. But why was nothing done about the downed electric line almost 12 hours later, when it ended up taking a man's life?

Both the Board of Public Utilities and Unified Government have been trying to figure out what went wrong, especially after several people tell FOX 4 News they had called both 911 and the board's emergency number, concerned about the downed line. They reported that it was sparking and flashing, as if it might catch fire.

That was at 4 p.m., and then almost 12 hours later, the same power line took the life of 27-year-old Nicholas Moeder. He was with friends in the park, playing disc golf just after 3 a.m.

Moeder wasn't part of the disc golf tournament in town for the weekend. However, tournament director Jack Lowe said once his staff saw the live power line, he called off the rest of the days' events.

"The power lines were down it was going crazy and haywire," Lowe said. "At that point, the 911 call was made and we left it in the hands of the authorities, hoping it would be resolved."

At 10 p.m., Lowe had someone go to the park to see if it was safe to restart tournament play there Sunday. Since the power line was still down, he said he made multiple calls to the Board of Public Utilities.

"Would have loved to talk to a live person, that's why I made a couple calls to BPU," he said. "It was unfortunate I couldn't speak directly to someone to get the sense of urgency across. Leaving a message felt empty, but I'm also like, there's not a lot else I can do."

Lowe said the next day when he discovered someone had died, his heart sank.

"Shocked, dismayed and heart broken," Lowe said. "And sick for the family."

Lowe said he hopes the agencies make changes, because nothing can be done now about the life that was lost. The Board of Public Utilities and the Kansas City Kansas Unified Government are investigating, pulling the 911 tapes and calls to the board's emergency line to see what happened and find out why nothing was done for 12 hours.

"We're looking at, from our standpoint, calls that came in to our trouble board," Board of Public Utilities Spokesman David Mehlhaff said. "Taking a look at how many outages we had, how many people we had on the ground to respond to the outages at that storm. It hit us so suddenly,  a short but powerful storm, and where we were at, did we have downed lines in other places?"

BPU says it will make the results of its investigation public Wednesday.

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