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Struck by broken power pole, 4 first responders injured

July 13, 2021 GMT

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia police officer and three firefighters were injured after being struck by a broken power pole while responding to damage from a thunderstorm, officials said Tuesday.

The first responders were injured Monday as they dealt with a downed power line following the storm in Valdosta, near the Georgia-Florida state line. Police were directing traffic around wires sagging in the road when one of them caught on a passing semi truck, Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan told a news conference Tuesday.

“A semi picked up one of the wires and pulled it, and when they pulled it, the power pole broke, which caused the power pole to break in half and shoot across the road,” Manahan said.

The broken pole struck a Valdosta police officer and three firefighters. One firefighter had to have a leg amputated below the knee, Valdosta Fire Chief Brian Boutwell said. The police officer was driven to the hospital after walking around “dazed and confused” with injuries to his face, Manahan said.

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All four injured first responders were taken to a hospital, The Valdosta Daily Times reported. One firefighter was treated and released. The others remained there Tuesday.

“We’ve run thousands of calls of lines down, especially those that are storm-related,” said Boutwell, adding that emergency workers who responded Monday had followed protocols. “It was just a tragic event that occurred unforeseen.”