Haines, Baker County, Oregon
Thomas Christensen accidentally electrocuted near Haines Yesterday. Failure to Lower The Derrick Boom Believed Responsible
Thomas Christensen, aged 35 years and eldest son of John and Lizzie Ingram Christensen, was instantly killed at the home of Leo Relling, four miles northwest of Haines at about 9 o’clock yesterday morning, when the derrick, which he was moving from the farm to the main road, came in contact with the main power line, carrying 23,000 volts of electricity from the E.O.I. & P. company’s Rock Creek plant to North Powder.
Exact details of the electrocution are lacking, but it was reported yesterday that an attempt was made by the deceased and an employee, Charles Jackson, to move the derrick under the wire, without lowering the boom. A shock resulted and the two teams pulling the derrick were stopped and an attempt made to lower it by Christensen who, in order to release the boom end, took hold of a chain raising the boom, so that it came in contact with the current, breaking the wire. The resulting noise scared the teams and Christensen was dragged some little distance. The current knocked Jackson down and also shocked the 12 year old son of Mr. Relling, slightly burning him on the side. The latter also narrowly escaped serious and perhaps fatal injuries in some miraculous manner, for he rode the derrick until the teams hit a post which stopped the runaway, some 500 foot distance.
The gate crossing at the Relling farm under the transmission wire, like all other gate crossings along the company’s high power lines, was of extra height as a precautionary measure. Notices to lower derricks were also posted on the poles at the crossing, it is reported.
An examination of the deceased’s body show that there are current marks on the right hand on one finger and on both feet. However, the body was badly bruised as the result of being dragged in the runaway. No inquest was held by Coroner West, who was summoned immediately following the accident.
The deceased, besides his wife, Myrtle Maxwell Christensen, is survived by two daughters, Alta Rose,aged 5 and Myrtle Marie aged 2 years; four sisters, Mrs. Mary McKenna, Haines, Mrs. Nellie McMillan, Grand Ronde valley; Mrs. Harry Yeakley, Baker; and Miss Lela Christensen, Haines; three brothers, John B. and William of Haines, and George of Arizona. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Mr. Christensen was a member of a pioneer Powder river valley family and bore an excellent reputation among all who know him. His demise will be regretted by all and was a distinct shock to residents of Baker.
Source: The Record Courier, Baker City, Oregon, June 24, 1922
Contributed by: Belva Ticknor