Ogdensburg man survived 19,000-volt shock during tree-cutting accident

HUNTER — An Ogdensburg man is lucky to be alive after surviving 19,000 volts flowing through his body from a power line in a tree-cutting accident while working in Greene County last month.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation held a press conference June 7 to honor those first responders who helped save the life of Gary Measheaw, 24, Ogdensburg, on May 23, which included DEC forest rangers and deputies with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

Measheaw, an employee with the Larch Tree Service, was working on a site on the North Lake Road in the town of Hunter on May 23 when the incident occurred.

Greene County Sheriff Pete Kusminsky said that Measheaw was sharpening his chainsaw on a chipper trailer attached to a boom truck.

“The boom operator got too close to the power lines above and it energized the boom. Electricity traveled down the boom through the truck, through the trailer and unfortunately into the victim and eventually out to the ground through his foot. That’s 19,000.9 volts,” stated Kusminsky in the press conference. “When they arrived they found a male victim who was unconscious and unresponsive laying on the side of the road. After finding no breathing or no pulse, they immediately started CPR.”

DEC Forest Ranger Seamus Peterson was one of the first responders who worked on Measheaw.

“The only thing on my mind is doing anything in my power to try to resuscitate this individual,” said the forest ranger. “Once we started our compressions and the AED shocked him twice, I believe, his body had a positive response so once I saw that I saw a huge sense of relief.”

After his heart was restarted, he was flown to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla for treatment.

“If not for the actions by Sheriff’s deputies and DEC personnel, The victim likely would not have survived this incident,” stated the sheriff.

During the press conference, Measheaw, who was sporting a walking boot for his injured foot, discussed the event.

“We specifically trim the trees that are on the power line. We have to trim them 10 feet back,” he said. “When I woke up I told my mother I knew I died, before anybody told me I died.”

He credits the first responders for him being alive today.

“It was a good thing they were there or I wouldn’t be here talking today,” stated Measheaw. “I’ve heard a lot that I am very lucky to be here.”

Peterson agrees.

“Him walking around when he had 20,000 volts running through his body is incredible,” stated the forest ranger.


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