Man Electrocuted While Potentially Stealing Copper Cable For Scrap

Blaine Minnesota resident Thomas Stanke was electrocuted to death while sawing through a subterranean copper cable under a St. Paul street last week.  The investigation of this electrocution accident is ongoing, but records indicate that Stanke, an employee of TDI Cable, had no work to do in the area at the time of the accident. Pioneer Press quotes police Sergeant Paul Schnell, saying “Investigators have a lot of work to do and need to corroborate that (theory), but he had taken a sawing device into the tunnel with him and the firm’s owner didn’t indicate he would have had any work to be done in that area.”

Electrocution Accident

Stanke had descended into the sewers with a saw and was electrocuted when his saw blade came into contact with a high-voltage wire.

The power in the local area, including St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Paul College was out momentarily as a result of the incident.  The Capitol building and several state office buildings lost power for approximately 30 minutes.

Stanke’s associate, who was above ground at the time of the incident, could not provide any information about Stanke’s presence underground as he was distraught following the accident.  TDI Cable and Stanke’s immediate family reported no comments to Pioneer Press.

Subterranean Safety

Regardless of what Stanke was doing underground at the time of the accident, it should be mentioned that no one but trained professionals should venture into sewers via manholes for any reason.

As Sergeant Schnell commented to Pioneer Press, Stanke “would have had equipment to both access the tunnel as well as make it somewhat safe for a human to be in the tunnel”by working for the cable company for over 20 years, and his actions still, unfortunately, cost him his life.

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