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Four KY firefighters injured, one critically, while helping students with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Courtesy WAVE

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Four Campbellsville, KY firefighters received a severe shock while helping the Campbellsville University marching band with an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  

The firefighters were identified by the city's police chief during a late afternoon news conference on Thursday.  They are Captain Tony Grider, 41, a 16-year veteran of the department, and part-time firefighter Simon A. Quinn, 22, were occupying the bucket portion of the aerial ladder truck being used for the university's public affairs event, and Captain Steve Marrs, 37, an 11-year veteran of the department, and three-year veteran Alex Johnson, 28, who were working the apparatus in an attempt to lower it to the ground.

The firefighters suffered electrical shocks from currents traveling down the extended ladder when it crossed the "electric energy threshold" of an overhead power line, according to Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette. That caused an "electric arc" to strike both firefighters.

"From talking with power company technicians, if you get within a distance of three or four feet, the energy that surrounds the high-voltage wire will actually arc over onto another object," Hazlette said, "in this case being the personnel occupying the bucket."

Grider and Quinn were removed from the aerial bucket and transported to Taylor Regional Hospital and later transferred to University of Louisville Hospital's burn unit.

Local firefighters said late Thursday they would keep vigil around the clock at University Hospital.

“We're not pushy, but having uniforms and the auxiliary here lets them know we're here for them,” said Rob Dwyer, deputy fire chief at the Hillview Fire District.

Dwyer and two members of his fire district's auxiliary brought snacks and planned to support the injured firefighters and their families into the night.

The road to recovery could be long, said Dr. Matthew Benns, a University Hospital trauma surgeon.

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