Jogger shocked by traffic light utility pole in South Philadelphia

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A South Philadelphia man is recovering after being shocked by exposed wires on a city street. (WPVI)

A South Philadelphia man is recovering after being shocked by exposed wires on a city street.

It happened on Wednesday.

27-year-old Mike Smith of South Philadelphia told Action News he was jogging in his neighborhood when he arrived at the traffic light utility pole at 20th Street and Oregon Avenue.

"I had my ankle weights on," he said. "I leaned up against the pole. I tried to relax and take a little break and try to stretch on the pole."

Suddenly, he said, he got the shock of his life.

"Felt like someone punched me in my neck and my head," said Smith. "I immediately lost my sight to, like, stars... bright lights."

Paramedics transported Smith to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was treated for an electrical shock.

Smith said he later learned that he came in contact with exposed wires at the bottom of the pole, and that there was another traffic light pole across the street that had exposed wires.

His father had called Peco to report the problem.

But when Smith noticed three days later that the problem had not been fixed, he contacted Action News.

We called the Philadelphia Streets Department, which sent a crew within minutes.

"We had no idea what was happening and that this situation happened until 6abc contacted us," said Richard Montanez, the city's chief street lighting and traffic engineer.

As it turns out, Peco is not responsible for problems relating to traffic lights. The city is.

"And the city does not get dispatched by Peco," said Montanez.

Within an hour the exposed wires on both traffic lights were shielded with new plastic covers.

"We take these things very seriously," said Montanez, "especially electrocutions or anything that harms the public."

The city says it very much wants to know when covers on utility poles are broken or missing or when wires are exposed.

The proper way to report these and similar problems in the city is to call 311.
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