Power pole falls on six-year-old in Portsmouth

Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-07 01:07:43-04

Portsmouth, Va. - A power pole fell on top of a six-year-old in Portsmouth Saturday afternoon.

Detective Misty Holley with the Portsmouth Police Department says a power pole fell on top of six-year-old Dontavis Porter in the 1200 block of Des Moines Avenue just after 3 p.m.

He was taken to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and is expected to be okay. He has four broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Dontavis' mother, Monique, says he was playing outside when the power pole fell on him.

"Next thing I know, it came down like a tumbling bridge," she says.

She says he was able to crawl out from under the pole but was in a lot of pain.

His grandmother, Carolyn Britt, heard his screams and scrambled to call Monique, who was down the street.

"I was nervous and couldn't think," she says. "All I kept trying to tell her was pole, pole, my grandson, my grandson, and she finally got here."

The family also says prior to the pole falling it had been leaning and was extremely moldy.

Officials from Dominion Power replaced the pole. They say it is unclear how the power pole came down, but they will be completing a very thorough investigation.

Dominion released the following statement about the incident today:

We are very sorry this happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the child and his family. We hope for a full and speedy recovery. We’ve have been in contact with the family and offered our assistance.

Dominion has a robust pole inspection program. We have 1.1 million poles on our system. We inspect about 40,000 poles a year. This particular pole was slated to be inspected between now and the next 5 years.

It is still early in our investigation, but it does appear the pole had some decay and a support wire had been severed. We are continuing with our investigation to determine exactly what occurred.

We will be inspecting about 300 poles in the Portsmouth area over the next two months.

We encourage residents to contact us if they are aware of any problems with our poles. This can be done by calling 1-866-366-4357.

Most importantly our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the child and his family.

They also say they've reached out to the child's mother. They are now investigating to prevent this from happening again.

They say that there are 1.1 million poles on their system and about 400,000 of them are the type that was involved in the accident.  Dominion says some of the poles have existed about 70-80  years and they have no signs of decay. The others are newer poles that are treated differently and are not susceptible to decay.