17-year-old Ben Graham was working for his family's plumbing company Tuesday morning, when he was shocked while working on a water leak under a South Albany home.
He died about an hour later at an Albany hospital.
Graham's family owns Sizemore Plumbing, and he was working for them before starting his senior year in high school next month. Witnesses say he touched electrical wires while lying in water from a leaking pipe.
Firefighters and Water Gas and Light crews assisted paramedics as they rushed to rescue Ben Graham from under 832 West Gordon Avenue about 9:30.
Mary Smith, the tenant in the house, said two plumbers had gone under her house to repair a leaking pipe. A few minutes later one ran into her home.
Smith said "He came out and told me one had got shocked. A live wire, or something under there. I don't know. He said 'where is the power line?' I said 'go in the kitchen' and he turned it out. He shot out everything."
Smith's grandchildren went to the crawl space to check on Graham. Nine year old Quezina Thomas said "We went to the door, and we said 'Is you ok? He said 'I'm not OK.'"
17 year old Ben Graham was rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest, where he died a little after 11. A rising senior at Lee County High, Graham had wrestled for Coach Tom Matheny since the sixth grade.
Matheny described him as "Very tough, rugged. Tender hearted young man. As tough as he was he had a heart, a heart of gold."
Plumbers tell us that they often see electric wires under older homes, but electrocution danger is very rare.
Mark Aultman of Professional Plumbing said "You don't event think about it you do it so much. You just crawl in there, do your job and come out. But now that this has happened it will probably make people think twice."
Coach Matheny said Ben Graham told him his girlfriend was expecting a child, and he was going to be a good father.
Matheny said "It much have took one hell of electrocution to take Ben down, because he's a tough boy."
A young man who died tragically, in an accident plumbers say is very rare.
We contacted family members, but they declined to comment.
Plumber Mark Aultman said most South Albany homes, even older ones, have safe electrical systems because many were remodeled after the floods of 1994 or 1998.
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