A Beldon mother is demanding answers from Government authorities after her 11-year-old daughter was left on life support after receiving a massive electrical shock from a garden tap.
Denishar Woods’ distraught mother Lacey Harrison recounted the horrifying moments her daughter fell to the ground screaming when she tried to turn off the tap on Saturday evening.
“The hose has gripped my daughter’s body and just taken her down and fried her,” a crying Ms Harrison said.
“I touched my daughter and the current pulled me down onto her. “I could hear this electrical sound going through my body and a burning.”
A major investigation led by EnergySafety is underway into how the metal tap became electrified after the power went out at the Department of Housing-owned residence, with Ms Harrison and a neighbour also being injured after receiving electric shocks.
Neighbour Mervin Brown rushed to the Eddystone Avenue home after hearing children screamingfor help and found the schoolgirl unconscious in a pool of water and her mother moaning and barely moving.
“Water was spraying everywhere and I tried to turn off the tap and I got a big shock,” he said. “I thought ‘this can’t be happening’ – who would think a tap’s live - and I tried a second and third time but I got another couple of bolts and I couldn’t get near the people.”
Ms Harrison, who had bruising on her arms and weakened muscles from the shock she received, said somehow she managed to get free when paramedics and police arrived.
“My daughter was laying face-first still gripped to the broken copper post of the tap and she was dead,” she recounted. “I was just shouting ‘please help her’.”
Police officers dragged the young girl to a safer area to start CPR as paramedics arrived.
Denishar, her mother and Mr Brown were rushed to hospital, where doctors managed to revive the 11-year-old.
Last night she was in Princess Margaret Hospital’s intensive care unit but her mother said it was unclear if she would pull through.
“We don’t know... whether she’s going to live or not because of the damage and how much oxygen she may have lost to the brain,” she said.
“I’m supposed to be in hospital myself but they released me to be by my daughter’s side.
“Denishar is bubbly, happy-go-lucky, joyful. “How does this happen. “She doesn’t deserve to go this way… I want answers.”
Ms Harrison said the power had gone out at their home just after 8pm and when she tried to turn it back on at the meter box, she received “a tingle” in her finger.
She called the Department of Housing’s emergency maintenance line and was told an electrician would be out that evening or the next day.
Fearing she and her children were not safe, she decided to leave.
The tap had been fine when Ms Harrison started to water the garden before the power went out. But she said something must have happened when the electricity tripped and her daughter was hurt when she tried to turn the tap off.
Ms Harrison said she had reported other power problems to the Department of Housing in recent months, including a “burning electrical smell” for which an electrician had been unable to find a cause.
She also had an electrician at the home on Monday to install two outdoor security lights and said he checked the RCDs, smoke alarms and flip switch.
Department of Communities Assistant Director General Housing Greg Cash would not comment yesterday on maintenance issues at the home and said the Department was waiting on information from the Office of EnergySafety regarding the incident.
“This is a sad situation and our thoughts are with the family of the young girl,” he said.
In 2016, the Auditor General criticised the Housing Authority’s management of electrical safety devices in public housing properties, saying it left “tenants and properties at some risk”.
At the time, the agency embarked on a $26 million three-year electrical safety device inspection and testing program. Late last year, the Authority said it had completed 14,700 of 46,000 inspections, and was “on track” to finish by June 2019.
National Electrical and Communications Association WA executive director Garry Itzstein said receiving an electric shock through a garden tap was very rare.
While he said it was impossible to say what had happened without knowing the circumstances, potential causes included problems with the RCD units, damage to cables or equipment caused by rodents, maintenance work that might have damaged electrical systems and non Australian Standard electrical products.
Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards said anyone who felt a tingle off a tap or any kind of voltage should not touch it and immediately call an electrician or Western Power.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.