First Baptist Church Construction Project Halted After Two Workers Hurt

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PANAMA CITY - A construction project at a downtown Panama City church came to an abrupt halt Tuesday after an accident involving the workers. Investigators say the two men were repairing the bell tower at First Baptist Church on Harrison Avenue when they fell on a power line.

Lynn Vannocker was driving to her Harrison Avenue travel agency around 8 A.M. Tuesday when she saw something unusual.

"Saw the firetrucks, saw the police officers, and just really didn't know what was happening. So like everyone else, we just stopped and asked," said Vannocker.

Panama City police say two employees with Quality Plus Services were completing concrete repairs on the First Baptist Church tower, when the project took a turn for the worst.

While construction crews were lowering the scaffolding from one level to another, they lost control and ended up making contact with a power line.

Panama City police and firefighters reached the men on the scaffolding. They had to perform CPR on one of them, who went into cardiac arrest.

The other was suffering from 3rd degree burns. They lowered the men to the ground, where paramedics took them to Bay Medical Sacred Heart.

"Given the circumstances, both of them left here alive. We're thankful for that. We wish them a speedy recovery and wish the best for them," said Scott Ervin, Panama City Police Chief.

The incident blew the power out for a large section of downtown Panama City, from 19th Street all the way down to 4th Street. It took Gulf Power crews about two hours to restore the electricity.

"It's one of those things where it takes your breath away and then you stop and you realize that it's under control and hopefully everyone is okay," said Vannocker.

The burn victim is most likely being life-flighted to a burn unit facility in Augusta, Georgia.

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