Officials plan immediate survey of electric boxes in parks, on Strip |

Officials plan immediate survey of electric boxes in parks, on Strip

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — All electrical boxes on the Las Vegas Strip and in county parks will undergo a comprehensive safety inspection this week after officials learned of a third incident involving electric shocks and the boxes.

“I don’t know how much we can say there are similarities between the three incidents, but there’s enough of these that we’re concerned about it,” said Erik Pappa, a county spokesman.

In April, a 9-year-old girl suffered a jolt that numbed her leg and sent a “buzzing sensation” through her body when she stepped on the cover of an electrical box near a softball field, according to a police report.

That incident came nine months after an elderly man and his dog received a shock when they walked on a box in a county park and four months before a Kentucky woman died after being electrocuted on the Strip.

The Aug. 16 death of Becky Longhofer, 39, prompted county officials to conduct a random inspection of 20 electrical boxes on the Strip. The survey found no problems, Pappa said Saturday.

But when county officials learned of the third incident, they decided to inspect all the electrical boxes beginning Monday, he said.

Pappa also said officials will submit a proposal to the County Commission that would require enhanced safety inspections of all electrical boxes. The county currently conducts visual inspections of the boxes in the parks every two weeks, he said.

The incident involving the 9-year-old girl is similar to one that caused Las Vegas officials in the early 1990s to replace metal box covers with fiberglass. That decision came after a boy playing in a park received a minor shock from a metal box.

“We wanted to make sure we had the safest thing out there where kids are playing,” said Jorge Cervantes, a city assistant traffic engineer.

Longhofer’s brother, Fain Brooks, said he plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

“If they knew these lids were dangerous in the city, why didn’t they know it in the county?” he said.

Like the case of the 9-year-old girl, evidence in the Longhofer case indicates the metal on the box may have made contact with frayed underground wiring, causing the electric shock, said Bobby Shelton, a spokesman for Clark County’s Public Works Department.