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Mom saves son from electrocution

Published: 
Monday, August 18, 2014
Naila Stephen at her son Nyane Andrews’ bedside at Southern Medical Clinic in San Fernando yesterday. He received burns about his body after he touched a railing that had been energised by a T&TEC wire on Saturday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

The boundless love of a Rousillac mother saved the life of her 12-year-old son on Saturday. Naila Stephen risked being electrocuted while grabbing son Nyame Andrews off an electrified front yard railing which had somehow come into contact with a T&TEC low voltage wire. Andrews shook uncontrollably when he grabbed a wet rug he had placed over the railing. Luckily, his mother was nearby and was able to take the life-saving action.

Up to yesterday, Andrews, a standard five pupil of the La Brea Roman Catholic School, remained in a stable condition at Southern Medical Clinic in San Fernando. He suffered burns to his feet and hands and was also undergoing other tests to check for organ damage. Yesterday, Stephen said they were doing weekend chores around noon and had just finished washing a rug when the incident occurred. She said while Andrews was hanging the rug on the rail she noticed him shaking uncontrollably and frothing from the mouth.

Without thinking about her personal safety, the 35-year-old mother of three rushed to grab him and she too began feeling electricity running through her body. “I did not get the full brunt of it because I had on a slipper, but he didn’t have on any. The current passed through him into me because I held him and pulled him off,” Stephen told the T&T Guardian. “He was like a stiff log, I had to pry his feet out and pulled him off.

“T&TEC told me I should not have held him and I should have looked for something to hold him with, but I couldn’t look for something at that point in time, he would have died. I did not even know what was happening because people thought it was fits (epilepsy).” She added, “There was a guy smoking in front the yard who said, ‘Oh gosh, the child catching fits’ and when he tried to hold him (Nyame), he too got shocked and pulled away. After, when we looked at where the current was coming from, then we realised the lines were touching.” 

She said three months ago a tyre dislodged from a passing truck and crashed into a TSTT utility pole. This caused the pole to break and lean onto the T&TEC wires. 

In a media release, T&TEC’s corporate communications manager Annabelle Brasnell confirmed the accident, saying, “The young man reportedly came into contact with a guy-wire that was being used by the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) to stabilise its wires. Preliminary investigations suggest that on contact, TSTT’s guy-wire touched T&TEC’s low voltage overhead line and became energised, shocking the boy.” 

Brasnell said the incident was being investigated by both T&TEC and TSTT. Stephen, a public protective officer at the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), admitted that although neighbours had reported the damaged pole to T&TEC, she never checked to see whether it was changed. She said compensation was not on her mind at the moment, only the welfare of her son. 

She said while she knew they both could have died she did what any parent would have done. Stephen said that after a T&TEC work crew removed the threat on Saturday, they said the damaged pole belonged to TSTT. But because the electricity came from their line, T&TEC decided to send Nyame to the Southern Medical Clinic for treatment.