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Man on oxygen dies minutes after power shutdown

POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) - UPDATE 10/11/2019 4:25 p.m. 

The daughter of a Northern California man who died when his oxygen equipment failed during a planned power shutdown says she doesn't understand why Pacific Gas & Electric Co. turned off the electricity.

The utility cut power to nearly 2 million people Wednesday to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires during dry, windy weather.

Marie Aldea told KTXL-TV in Sacramento Friday that her 67-year-old father Robert Mardis Sr. may have not been able to reach his battery-operated backup machine in time when the power went out around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Mardis, who had been sleeping, died about 12 minutes after the shut down.

A PG&E spokesman said earlier Friday that it had not confirmed the accuracy of the report.

 

PREVIOUS STORY: Northern California fire officials say a man dependent on oxygen died about 12 minutes after Pacific Gas and Electric shut down power to the area as part of a massive effort to prevent fire.

El Dorado County Fire Chief Lloyd Ogan said Friday that fire personnel responded to a call in Pollock Pines that came in after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He said crews arrived to find an unresponsive man in his 60s and were unable to revive him.

Ogan said the man's oxygen equipment required power but could not say whether the shutdown was related to his death.

PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said it has not been able to confirm the accuracy of the report.

The utility started turning off electricity early Wednesday in Northern and Central California in advance of strong, dry winds.


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