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Enumclaw woman burned while stealing copper wire from PSE substation
Editor's note: the following is a press release issued at 3:13 p.m. Monday by the King County Sheriff's Office.
A 32-year-old Enumclaw woman was badly burned while stealing copper wire from a Puget Sound Energy electrical substation. Her accomplice ran off before rescue personnel arrived.
The incident occurred on Saturday morning about 5:30 a.m. PSE crews went to the substation in the 41900 block of 180th Avenue Southeast after reports of a power outage in the area and found the burned woman inside the fenced area. They called the fire department and police and the woman was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening burns.
Evidence at the scene indicated she and an accomplice were stealing wire. The woman was on top of one of the transformers and came close enough to an energized circuit to be burned. This substation has voltages as high as 115,000 volts.
The two thieves gained entry to the substation by cutting a hole in the cyclone fence which surrounds the property.
Puget Sound Energy has seen significant increase in copper thefts, according to Dave Foster, manager of corporate security. The thefts are occurring both at substations and from utility poles.
Sheriff's detectives and PSE are asking the public to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity or persons loitering near utility areas.