Jamie Guin had worked for the electric agency for 13 years.
Prentiss County Electric Power Association employee Jamie Guin was killed Tuesday night while working to repair electrical lines along Hwy. 30 near the intersection of County Road 6100. He was 36.
PCEPA General Manager Ronny Rowland said he and his employees are heartbroken following the tragedy, which occurred just after midnight. Employees were offered the opportunity Wednesday to take the time they needed.
“There are 32 of us all together, and we’re like a family,” Rowland said. “Jamie worked here 13 years. It’s horrible. I’ve got employees here who are very emotional. I’ve told them to take what time they need to deal with their grief.”
Inspectors from the OSHA, the state and 4-County Power and Electric in Columbus were on the scene Wednesday afternoon. The area around the downed power line was left basically as it was when emergency crews rushed to the scene. It is believed Guin may have touched a power line he believed had been deactivated.
Rowland said his crews had been called out to make repairs throughout the county after severe thunderstorms moved through around 8:30 p.m. Strong winds knocked over numerous trees, including the large tree that fell across the line Guin and fellow employee Ricky Tapp were attempting to repair.
Rowland said Guin was wearing his safety equipment and, because the hill and embankment where the utility pole was located was too slick and lengthy to access with a bucket truck, Guin had climbed the pole to access the lines. Rowland said Tapp was down on the ground working to get around some limbs to get a conductor line when he heard a loud pop and looked up to see Guin. Tapp immediately called 911, which recorded the call at 12:09 a.m. Supervisor Danny Hodges and other PCEPA employees out in the field were also summoned. Rowland said power was cut to the entire area after the accident to make sure no lines were charged while emergency crews worked on the scene.
When first responders arrived, two PCEPA linemen had to climb the pole to bring Guin’s body down. He was pronounced dead by Prentiss County Coroner Greg Sparks.
Rowland said Prentiss County Chaplain Doug Rakestraw was able to reach family members and break the news to them before they saw it on social media.
Other PCEPA employees began seeing posts on social media about a lineman having been killed during the night, but they didn’t believe it until they arrived at the office, Rowland said.
Guin lived in Booneville. He was a graduate of Baldwyn High School. He and his wife were expecting twins next month.
Despite the tragedy, Rowland said PCEPA employees continued to work through the night to restore power to customers across the county, even with the weight of knowing one of their fellow employees had died in the effort.
Rowland said PCEPA has been in operation for 83 years, and he’s been with the organization for 47 of those years. He said, to his knowledge, Guin is the first employee to die in the line of duty.
“It is just a tragic accident,” Rowland said.