Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ameren Lineman Who Died after Storm Was Known for Careful Work

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ameren Lineman Who Died after Storm Was Known for Careful Work

Article excerpt

ST. ANN * David Burns was known as a careful man in a dangerous business.

"This is a very unforgiving line of work," said Mike Brown, a friend and fellow lineman at Ameren. "It only takes one time, and that's what happens."

Burns, 50, of Lincoln County, was electrocuted Thursday morning while working on a utility pole near San Jose Lane and St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann in the aftermath of tornadoes that hit the area.

Burns, a father of four, had been an Ameren lineman for 26 years. Co-workers pulled him from the pole, but he was pronounced dead at DePaul Health Center.

Burns had served on a union-company safety committee. Mike Walter, business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1439, said Burns was a thorough and careful worker.

"If you were to place a bet on who would not make a mistake, he would be one of the top," Walter said, adding that it would take several days to determine what happened.

Burns was among more than 1,000 electricians and maintenance workers making repairs after tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and high wind roared across parts of the metro area Wednesday evening. Burns was the only person killed as a result of the storm or in its aftermath.

Another man, John Patrick Duffy, 22, remained in critical but stable condition Friday from injuries he received when he apparently was blown from the southbound Interstate 170 bridge onto Nyflot Avenue while seeking shelter from high wind, Hazelwood police said. The bridge is about 30 feet high.

Duffy suffered head injuries, broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

He had talked with his mother via cellphone before the accident. His mother, Julie Duffy of Florissant, said she had called her son to warn him about storm bulletins. He told her he was stuck in traffic on Interstate-170.

"He said, 'The worst case is that I'll get out and lie in a ditch somewhere,' "she said Friday, recounting the conversation. "All we can think is, that was his thought at the time. …

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