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Firefighters critically injured in C-ville

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By Calen McKinney

Firefighter Tony Grider is in critical condition and Alex Quinn is listed in fair condition after they were injured Thursday afternoon while helping Campbellsville University students with an ALS cold water challenge.

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Four Campbellsville Fire & Rescue personnel were injured at 11:42 a.m. today after a ladder from a fire truck approached power lines, and the proximity of the ladder to the lines allowed what is known as an electric arc to occur, which caused the firefighters to be shocked.

The incident took place on the Campbellsville University campus while the firefighters were helping some CU band students on campus with the cold water challenge.

Campbellsville/Taylor County EMS personnel responded to the scene. Grider and Quinn were airlifted by Air Evac helicopters from the CU baseball field for treatment. Steve Marrs and Alex Johnson, also Campbellsville Fire & Rescue personnel, were also shocked and transported to Taylor Regional Hospital by medic unit. They were treated and released.

There were widespread power outages in Campbellsville after the incident.

At a news conference at 5 p.m. Thursday, Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said Grider, 41, a captain with Fire & Rescue, and Quinn, 22, a part-time firefighter, were in the "bucket" portion of the aerial ladder truck. After the event ended, the firefighters were in the process of moving the ladder to its travel position. Hazlette said a preliminary invesigation has revealed that, as the bucket came closer to the power line, it crossed the electric energy threshold, which caused an electric arc that struck Grider and Quinn.

Capt. Steve Marrs, 37, and Alex Johnson, 28, them assumed control of the ladder in an attempt to lower it to the ground. In the process, Marrs and Johnson received electrical shocks from current traveling down the ladder.

Grider and Quinn were taken to TRH for treatment and then transferred to University of Louisville Medical Center Burn Unit. On Thursday at 5:45 p.m., Grider was listed as "critical" and Quinn was in "fair" condition.

Johnson and Marrs were also transported to TRH and have been treated and released.

The incident remains under investigation. Campbellsville Police Department is leading the investigation, with help from Kentucky Fire Commission and United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration personnel.

CU President Dr. Michael Carter released the following statement in a news release.

“We express heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the families of the two firefighters who were injured."

CU's Baptist Campus Ministry students will have a time of prayer at 7 p.m. tonight on Stapp Lawn.