Woman electrocuted, dogs killed in bizarre accident

One woman is in hospital and her two beloved dogs have died following a tragic electrocution last Sunday.

One woman is in hospital and her two beloved dogs have died following a tragic electrocution Sunday.

A Harrison Mills resident was walking her dogs in a harvested corn field near her home at about 4 p.m. on Oct. 18. Neighbours believe the trio had been walking through the field when the dogs headed toward a sagging power line.

All three were electrocuted, but the woman managed to scream for help. She was heard by a woman who was camping at the Kilby Provincial Park, just over the dike. That witness ran to the top of the dike just in time to see the woman in flames, and 911 was called immediately.

That quick action may have saved the woman’s life, says neighbour Ted Chapula.

He knows the woman who was electrocuted, in the small community they often saw each other while out walking, and would briefly chat or say hello. Now, Chapula and his wife are caring for their neighbour’s many animals.

“We would talk whenever we’d walk by,” he says. “Her dogs were like her children. She was definitely an animal lover.”

He said the SPCA has been called to take care of the animals, but they would need a warrant to do so. Meanwhile, the woman is in critical care being treated for severe burns.

One of the animals Chapula is taking care of is a duckling that was living in the woman’s living room.

“He’s quite affectionate,” he says. “He kept following me all around the house this morning.”

He hopes that the story reaches the woman who reacted so quickly to the call for help.

“I would like to know who she is,” he says, and how important it was for her to investigate the screaming.

“It’s just a sad, sad, sad situation,” he added. “Who would have thought that someone taking their dogs for a walk would get electrocuted.”

Chapula did not witness the event, but he was there in the aftermath once it became obvious something was going on. He had been helping another neighbour with a plumbing job, and heard a dog barking — that was a third dog of the woman’s.

First responders were on the scene quickly, power was turned off to the sagging power line, and the woman was taken to hospital.

After it was deemed safe to go onto the field, Chapula and another neighbour retrieved the dead dogs and buried them in the woman’s yard.

“She would have wanted them there,” he said.

It’s believed the power line came down that Thanksgiving weekend in a very windy storm caused by Hurricane Oho. A cottonwood tree branch came down on the line, creating a loop. Chapula found a dead raccoon, further decomposing, in the same area.

“Electricity is always looking for a ground, and those dogs came within the perimeter,” he adds.

The power line was a short line going to a pumphouse in the field. It was hanging about two feet above the ground.

“The 20 or 25 people in the immediate proximity are absolutely bewildered,” he says. “We wonder how this situation could have been avoided.”

Some neighbours believe BC Hydro had been informed of the power line sagging. But a spokesperson said that is not the case. They have investigated the site, Simi Heer told Black Press.

” We have no record of a report of the damaged line to BC Hydro. Our reports and restoration centre records are not showing any instances of power outages and we also do not have any records of a downed or damaged power line being reported to us.”

Heer added that they were on site on Monday gathering information, and sent out condolences to the woman.

“Our thoughts are with her, her family and the community at this time and we sincerely hope that she will recover,” Heer said.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department on scene at a house fire on Boundary Road and No. 4 Road on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (David Seltenrich/ Facebook)
Fire crews respond to house fire on border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Flames, dark smoke reported coming from front of house when crews arrived

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

Pig races at the 147th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 10, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Fair plans in-person event for 149th annual exhibition

Will be first large-scale, in-person event in over a year, provided regulations continue as planned

Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.
Chilliwack students overcome adversity to win Beedie Luminaries scholarships

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 students receiving money

Crews work on the construction of Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt near the Vedder River on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack School District shuffling catchment areas as Stitó:s Lá:lém totí:lt construction continues

SD33 is looking for public input about proposed catchment and feeder school options

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read