Just after 11.30am this morning (Saturday, 10 September) emergency services were called to a report which initially came from an off-duty police officer of a workplace accident at Westfield Warringah Mall, Brookvale. A worker using a power tool had cut through an electrical supply line near the Rebel sport store, which is in the area near Coles.
The man was reported to have suffered severe electrical burns, and power to around one-third of Warringah Mall was blacked out, resulting in concerns a number of people were trapped in elevators that had suddenly lost power and ceased to operate.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Manly Station were first on scene, followed closely by firefighters from Dee Why Station, entering Warringah Mall from Old Pittwater Road, Brookvale. They found a 34-year-old man suffering burns to his hands and face and took over first aid from security officers who had been first on scene, cooling the man’s injuries.
They also found a small fire burning in the power tool that the man had been holding when he cut into the power supply line and some smouldering clothing, which they extinguished.
Six workers from the construction site were evacuated from the area but a general evacuation of the Mall was not deemed necessary, due to the area of construction already being largely free of members of the public.
Warringah Mall security officers also informed firefighters that at least two lifts were without power, and it was not known if occupants were trapped inside. The FRNSW Incident Commander requested a specialist rescue unit from Narrabeen Fire Station attend the scene to assist with search and rescue of people who may be trapped in the lifts.
Multiple NSW Ambulance crews responded to the scene, including the CareFlight Rescue Helicopter with a specialist medical team, two NSW Ambulance Inspectors and Intensive Care paramedics. On arrival, paramedics immediately set to work providing the injured worker with advanced pain relief and assessing the extent of his burns.
With the specialist trauma medical team from CareFlight on scene, the man was treated for serious burns to his hands, and superficial burns to his neck and face. Burn dressings were applied and the man was taken outside to a waiting NSW Ambulance Intensive Care vehicle and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious condition just after 12.15pm. The CareFlight Rescue Helicopter departed its landing site at Millers Reserve, Manly Vale, to meet the team on arrival at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Ausgrid were called to the incident to manage the safety of the damaged power line and with power still cut off, firefighters began a search of two lift shafts that were completely without power. It was not initially known if people were trapped in the lifts but firefighters were able to access them and confirm that there was nobody trapped and no need to conduct a rescue operation.
With the man taken to hospital and no persons trapped, firefighters then used ventilation fans to clear remaining smoke from the worksite. They contacted SafeWork NSW to notify them of the workplace accident. SafeWork NSW have confirmed the incident is under investigation and said no further comment will be made at this time.
Source: Northern Beaches Advocate