Senator raises issue on GI electrocutions

WASHINGTON (AP) - June 20, 2008 Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, died Jan. 2 of cardiac arrest after being electrocuted while showering at his barracks in Baghdad. At least 11 other troops have also been electrocuted, according to the Army and Marine Corps.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., expressed concern that other U.S. troops could be in danger of electrocution. He asked which bases had been inspected and for specifics on repairs made. He also asked if any overall changes have been made to certify the safety of U.S. bases.

"I have been informed that, whereas the specific facility where Staff Sergeant Maseth was killed may have been brought up to code, other U.S. military installations across Iraq continue to exhibit the type of problems that led to Staff Sergeant Maseth's death," Casey wrote. "If so, this is unacceptable and must be remedied immediately."

A Pentagon spokesman said the office generally does not comment on individual correspondence between Gates and members of Congress.

An Army criminal investigation found that Maseth's death was due to improper grounding of the electric pump that supplied water to the building.

The Department of Defense Inspector General is investigating the deaths, as is the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Maseth's family has sued the contractor responsible for maintaining Maseth's barracks.

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