An 18-year-old Beeville man died Tuesday morning when he unknowingly touched an electrified fence, authorities reported.
Elliott Lewis was apparently electrocuted while covering a hole in the fence with chicken wire to keep dogs from getting out, Bee County sheriff’s investigator Capt. Dan Caddell said.
The house is located at 2217 FM 888, about a block south of FM 351 south of Beeville.
Caddell said the resident who lives at the home called 9-1-1 around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and told dispatchers that the man working for her appeared ill.
A dispatcher alerted AngelCare Ambulance Service, which sent paramedics to the house.
Deputy Derek Franco also was dispatched to the home.
Caddell said rescuers arrived to find Lewis unconscious. He said Lewis was transported to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville, and apparently could not be revived.
A doctor said the young man may have been electrocuted because he had imprints of chicken wire burned onto his elbow and back of his hand, Caddell said.
Franco, Caddell and Lt. Jason Heines went out to the house to investigate the cause of Lewis’ death.
Caddell said officers could not immediately determine how Lewis could have been electrocuted. However, after spending a short while at the home, the officers heard one of the woman’s Chihuahua-mixed dogs yelp.
“The dog yelped and the woman said, ‘Well, another one’s dead,’ She had two or three Chihuahua-type dogs that had electrocuted themselves when they touched a piece of tin nailed up against the house,” Caddell recounted.
The piece of tin was nailed up against the home to keep the dogs from going under the house, Caddell said.
Officers investigated further and found that the piece of tin had came into contact with a 110-volt wire that had been snaked along the bottom edge of the home, Caddell explained. The tin had cut through the wire’s insulated exterior and made contact with the deadly wires inside, and in doing so electrified the tin panel, he said.
After securing the scene to prevent other deaths, officers summoned an electrician as well as AEP, Caddell said.
The electricians discovered that the wiring was hooked up to a 60 amp breaker instead of a 20 amp breaker as it should have been.
“Because it was a 60 amp fuse it didn’t trip when it was supposed to,” Caddell said.
The woman told investigators she heard Lewis holler several times “help me,” but by the time she got to him he was lying on the ground unconscious with a hammer nearby, Caddell recounted from his report.
The power company representative deemed the wiring in the home dangerous and the home and wiring were immediately condemned and the meter was pulled, Caddell added.
The woman was asked to leave the home for her own safety.
“Apparently, the house had caught fire a while back and somebody — probably an unlicensed electrician — was hired to rewire the home,” Caddell said.