1 dies, 1 seriously hurt from high-voltage shock

Man was doing tree work in residential area; 2nd man passing by shocked


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – One man died from electrocution and another was hospitalized in serious condition after being shocked by power lines Thursday morning, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Chad Janes, 42, was doing tree work in the backyard of his home in the 100 block of Honey Branch Lane about 9:30 a.m.

Investigators said he was in a tree with a chainsaw and was cutting a limb, which fell onto a power line. Power then surged into the limb and the tree, electrocuting Janes, who fell to the ground. He died at the scene.

His wife yelled for help and a 911 caller heard three loud booms and saw fire. A neighbor, 53-year-old Joseph Sheffield, walked up to help, and he also came into contact with ground, which was electrified. He was shocked but fell clear of the electrical current.

"The Good Samaritan that was in the area heard the commotion and came over to help and became a victim himself," said Cpl. Greg Suchy, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Sheffield was taken to UF Health Jacksonville and then moved to UF Health Gainesville.

Steve Foss, a family friend of Janes, said Janes owned a landscaping company.

"This is a down-to-Earth guy, hard-working real American," Foss said. "He was an excellent father, an excellent example, and he was doing what he loves to do."

Throughout the day, family and friends arrived at the house and learning about the accident.

"The biggest miracle is that Sandy didn't get injured as she went to his rescue immediately, and the next person alone," Foss said. "The mother had angels today."

Experts offer this advice to prevent a similar situation to what happened: Stay more than 10 feet away from neighborhood power lines and at least 35 feet from larger high-voltage lines; never use tools or equipment near power lines; and hire qualified professionals to trim trees near power lines.