Teen with ‘severe autism’ killed after climbing substation transformer in Hildale

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HILDALE, Utah – A teen with what authorities called severe autism was killed Saturday afternoon after he allegedly climbed a transformer at a substation and was electrocuted.

According to Hildale-Colorado City Fire Department Chief Kevin Barlow, at around 2:25 p.m. Saturday emergency units responded to reports of an electrocution on north Boxelder Street.

When crews arrived, they found a 19-year-old autistic male had, “somehow scaled the fence of a power substation yard,” Barlow said.

The mother of the teen had allegedly stopped at a business near the substation for a few minutes, and when she returned the teen had exited the vehicle and climbed the transformer.

When crews arrived, they found that the teen appeared to have made contact with high voltage wires.

Barlow said the teen was “instantly electrocuted.”

“For safety reasons, rescue crews were forced to wait until all lines were de-energized and confirmed to be grounded,” Barlow said. “The outcome was obvious and after police conducted their investigation, fire department crews were able to slide the young man down a ladder ramp.”

Barlow stated that the teen who was electrocuted had severe autism, and was known to have no fear of danger or heights. He stated that in the past the teen had scaled tall fences, climbed onto roofs and climbed tall trees.

“The electricity was off to both Hildale and Colorado City residents for about two hours while the investigation was conducted,” Barlow said.