Lexington officials still seeking answers after girl electrocuted in pool

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LEXINGTON, N.C. — City officials on Wednesday said they plan to conduct their own investigation after a report released by the fire marshal provided further details about a freak accident in which an 11-year-old girl was electrocuted after a set of power lines fell near a pool in Lexington.

According to the City of Lexington, it’s the fire marshal’s opinion that, “it appears that the failure of the line was in or around the side-by-side connector on the line.”

City officials stressed it was not a connector that failed, but rather a line near the connector.

The fire marshal was unable to determine how the current from the power lines traveled to the pump house and the pool.

“We will start an investigation and use whatever means necessary to reach an accurate conclusion as to why the wire failed and energy ran 60 feet to a pool,” Lexington City Manager Alan Carson told FOX8.

“We anticipate this investigation will take some time and we will make every effort to come to a clear and logical understanding as to what occurred and how, but we will not let time interfere with a thorough investigation,” Carson said.

Electric power line pool electrocution insertLauren Cecil was fatally shocked at the Brookside Swim Club on Tuesday, July 16 after the line adjacent to the pool snapped and sent an electric current into the water. Cecil was in the pool with two other girls when the line came down.

Julie Rhodes, president of the swim club, said she and another swim coach were standing on the pool deck along with several parents when they heard “a big pop.”

“We looked up and the wire had fallen… In the midst of falling from the pole and it landed across our parking lot and a big puff of smoke came up,” Rhodes said. “I sent one of the lifeguards up there to stand because we thought it might be a live wire. We were encouraging the other people just to get out of the pool for a minute.”

Electrocution insertThe other girls jumped out of the concrete side of the pool, but Cecil grabbed a metal ladder to lift herself up, Rhodes said.

“When she grabbed the ladder, it looked like a big shock went through her,” Rhodes said.

Attempts to rescue her were hampered because the electricity continued to shock lifeguards and others who were trying to pull her from the water.

“We all tried reach down and grab her and it was shocking us when we touched her, so we ended up having to get the body board… And got it under her and held her head up with the kick board.”

Lifeguards used the kick board to keep Cecil’s head above water until they could safely pull her out.

“After a few minutes, the current was not as strong as it was and we were able to lift her out of the water and we immediately started CPR,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes says they performed CPR for about 10 minutes before EMS arrived. Paramedics continued CPR while transporting Cecil to Wake Forest Baptist Health — Lexington Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The lifeguards and others who were shocked when trying to get Cecil out of the pool were checked by EMS, but nobody else was seriously hurt.

When asked if there was anything unusual or apparent that may have caused the line to snap, Rhodes said, “No storms, no wind… Nothing that we could tell whatsoever… It was just out of the blue… It seemed just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary.”