Wind from a storm in the Wilkes County, NC, area blew part of a maple tree across power lines igniting a fire in a small structure. A witness said that Firefighter Barker, one of the first to arrive at the scene, was bending over to look more closely where the fire was coming from and was less than 3 feet away from the structure when he collapsed. While witnesses said they never saw Barker touch the structure, the electricity from the power lines on the structure likely moved through the building and unpaved ground, electrocuting Barker. Reports indicate that the ground was saturated with rainwater which helped conduct the electricity. Other firefighters were able to pull Firefighter Barker away from the structure. Efforts to revive Barker with CPR, however, were unsuccessful. Firefighter Barker was pronounced dead at Wilkes Regional Medical Center.
Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department
5416 Mountain View Road
Hays, North Carolina 28635
Chief: Bill Johnson
Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.