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Six Pipeline Workers Nearly Electrocuted

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Six pipeline workers were nearly electrocuted Thursday when their construction equipment either touched or got too close to high-voltage power lines.

The accident happened east of Arlington underneath the Bonneville Power Administration’s 230,000-volt Snohomish-to-Murray line.

Arlington Fire Department Chief Jim Renkin said the workers were unloading sections of gas pipeline when the accident happened.

The two most seriously injured were airlifted immediately to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Two more were taken to the same hospital a few hours later. Two others who suffered less serious injuries were taken to an Everett hospital.

“When you have high voltage such as this you don’t have to touch the line to go to ground,” said Rankin. “It can jump sometimes, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 feet.”

The workers are part of a massive gas pipeline replacement project by the Williams Pipeline Company.

The workers are subcontractors replacing 268 miles of 26-inch diameter pipe between Sumas and Washougal.

According to the company’s web site, it is part of a “capacity replacement project” in response to orders issued by the Office of Pipeline Safety after two failures in the line in 2003.

It is likely the injured workers have remedies beyond those offered by Labor and Industries. For answers to your questions, ask a personal injury attorney.