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Worker says Sibley's negligence caused burns, injuries

Worker says Sibley's negligence caused burns, injuries


SIOUX CITY -- A construction worker who was electrocuted and fell from a building has sued the city of Sibley, Iowa, for negligence, saying a city-owned power line was located too close to the structure.

Victor Maldonado says the city knew the location of high-voltage line did not comply with safety codes and failed in its duty to limit the risk of danger to those working near the power line.

Maldonado and his wife, Lidia Ochoa, are seeking a judgment of more than $75,000 for damages, including ongoing medical expenses, permanent physical damage and loss of earnings and earning capacity.

In his lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Maldonado said he was on the roof of a building at 839 Third Ave. in Sibley on Sept. 26, 2018, working on a rain gutter renovation job.

Maldonado says he was handling an aluminum downspout when a city-owned and operated electrical distribution line sent a high-voltage current through the downspout and his body, causing him to fall 20 feet off the roof to an alley below.

Maldonado, of Worthington, Minnesota, suffered severe electrical burns, facial and cranial fractures, a brain injury, loss of function in limbs and blindness in one eye.

The lawsuit said that the placement of the power line did not comply with an Iowa law that requires electricity providers like the city to follow the National Electrical Safety Code, which mandates at least 12.5 feet of clearance between high-voltage lines and buildings.

The city was negligent in its placement of the power line, Maldonado said, and did not allow a safe distance between the line and the building on which he was working.

City staff referred questions to city attorney Harold Dawson, who could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

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