A fire erupted this morning in downtown Houston and at least five workers in the building have been taken to nearby hospitals with burn wounds. The Houston fire officials say that the accident happened at about 10:00 a.m. in a block of Capitol in the Southwestern Bell Building.
The employees were all working for CenterPoint Energy and were performing electrical maintenance in the basement of the structure when they were injured. The basement of the Southwestern Bell building holds equipment that serves underground power lines that supply electricity to the buildings in the area.
This is called the electrical vault. Authorities and investigators are at the scene of the accident and are looking to see what caused the fire. The Houston Fire Department says that the injured workers were hit with approximately 480 volts of electricity. The employees are all in critical condition at the Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Witnesses say that workers have "significant" burn injuries. A CenterPoint spokeswoman says that the building where the workers were performing maintenance lost electricity after the fire. Two other structures nearby also lost their power. The basement where the fire started suffered minimal damage. San Jacinto, Capitol and Texas are all closed while crews investigate the incident.
Electrical work can be very dangerous, and employees in this occupation are constantly at risk to burn injuries and electrical shock. If you are an electrician and are injured while on the job, then you may have the right to seek compensation from the party-at-fault. If your employer failed to provide you with the proper safety equipment or if you were not given the proper training for your job, then you may be able to make a case proving that you deserve compensation. Talk to an industrial injury lawyer at Arnold & Itkin today if you want more information about seeking on-the-job damages.