Zach Spicer, a substation supervisor for DES, Dickson County, Tenn., suffered second-degree burns to his face and neck and third-degree burns Aug. 25 afternoon on his hands and forearm at the DES Old White Bluff Substation just as he prepared to teach a class.

He was accessing a breaker cabinet, high voltage side when contact or an arc formed, causing an electrical fault that released heat and energy. He remembers stammering around and seeing everyone's expression looking at him.

Spicer knew something horrible had happened. Not until he looked at his own hands did Spicer realize — he was the victim of arc flash burns.

Another DES employee suffered severe burns to his face and neck, said DES spokesperson Elizabeth Kuhns. He was released that evening and is recovering at home.

Spicer was sent to the Vanderbilt Medical Center Burn Unit where he has undergone three surgeries and “countless procedures,” according to a relative.

 Kuhns said the lineman position here in Dickson County and worldwide is “one of the most dangerous and hazardous environments on a daily basis” while also emphasizing that safety is “at the very top of our priorities.”

“As always, our employees have come together to support two of our own by hosting a fundraiser breakfast, making shirts, and taking up donations to help the families involved,” said Kuhns, adding she knows the community support will “continue to lift these two brave men up and help them through their ongoing recovery.”

More than $5,000 was raised at a fundraiser breakfast Sept. 1 that was made up of mostly employees, retirees and their families, said Kuhns.

DES is also starting a T-shirt fundraiser. The gray, short-sleeve T-shirts say TEAM SPICER on the front and will be available next week. A benefit account for the Spicer family has been established at Tristar Bank. And childhood friends Ruthie Clarke and Elizabeth Shrader will be organizing a meal train for the Spicer family once he is released.

Godwin said DES employees, from top to bottom of the chain of command, have “either visited, called, brought care packages, or have simply prayed (which is what was needed most),” Godwin wrote in an email. “In the past, Zach has said that DES is a brotherhood and a great place to work, I now see why he said that and I couldn't agree more.”

Source: USA Today