Two Alabama Power workers were fatally electrocuted while helping to restore power to the area in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Tuesday, taking the storm’s death toll up to seven.
The victims have been identified as Eli Nathaniel Babb and Layton River Ellison, both 19 year olds who worked with Pike Electric, which does contract work with Alabama Power.
Officials said they were electrocuted when they were doing powerline distribution work and ‘came in contact with an energized power line’ in western Jefferson County at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Rescue crews from nearby Hueytown, Adger, Concord, Birmingport and Antioch assisted at the scene, WVTM reports, but the two boys were pronounced dead on the scene at 11:20 a.m.
James Banner, the senior vice president of Pike Electric , called it a ‘horrible day’ in a statement to Al.com, and said the company’s prayers were with their families.
Alabama Power officials also said in a statement: ‘We have been made aware of a tragic accident involving Pike Electric employees supporting Alabama Power in storm restoration. Our thoughts are with the Pike Electric family during this time.’
Pike Electric said it will continue to investigate the incident, but an official cause of death may take four to six weeks to determine.
The victims in the electrocution were identified as Layton Ellison and Eli Babb, both 19 year olds who worked for Pike Electric and were contracted to do powerline restoration work for Alabama Power on Tuesday
Crews responded to the scene in western Jefferson County on Tuesday, after two Pike Electric workers were fatally executed
The men, both 19, were pronounced dead on the scene
Officials said they were electrocuted when they were doing powerline distribution work and ‘came in contact with an energized power line’
Pike Electric said it will continue to investigate the incident
Following the announcement, friends and family took to social media to express their grief.
Nikki Watkins, who identified herself in a Facebook post as Eli Babb’s aunt, wrote: ‘I ask that you please pray for our family and best friends Heather Babb and James Woody Babb, Ethan, Mrs. Faye and all of their family.
‘Today we lost Eli, but God welcomed him into his beautiful mansion,’ she wrote, noting that she and ‘Uncle Chris’ loved him more than he will ever know and were ‘so glad’ they were able to spend time with him in June.
‘We love you sweet boy,’ Watkins wrote. ‘Our family beach trip will never be the same.’
Daniel Milford, a friend of the family, also posted that he had known Eli ‘since he was only a few years old, and he was an awesome kid.
‘He will be missed for sure,’ Milford wrote, as he asked for donations to the family.
Zoey Callum, a classmate, also said Babb ‘always had a smile on his face with so much excitement,’ and Maecie Driskill said: ‘Rest easy to the sweetest soul, always making sure everyone has a smile on their face and making everyone’s days so much better.’
Eli Babb was described as a ‘sweet boy’ who always made people smile
Following the news of his death, friends and family members took to Facebook to share their memories of him and express their grief
Others also wrote that Ellison, an Alexandria high school baseball star, would be greatly missed, with Ali Bussey writing on Facebook her best friend, Trudy Hardegree, had lost her boyfriend.
‘I cannot express how much that woman means to me, and yet it’s a tiny drop compared to what Layton means to her,’ she wrote, noting that she ‘will miss him with his giant smile and ridiculously wild hair so terribly.’
Meanwhile, Candace Davis wrote: ‘How can I sleep when my grandson is right here, but one of my dearest friends lost her grandson yesterday at the tender age of 19?
‘Oh the pain she is in,’ Davis wrote. ‘It’s absolutely heart breaking.
‘Layton Ellison was a light in this world,’ she continued. ‘From the time I held him at a few days old, I knew he would belong to all of us – this whole community. Yesterday, I saw this entire community pour out their hearts to Trudy, Jerry and Daniel.
‘We’re all hurting for them, for his sweet friends, for the people he loved and loved him big.’
Davis said after hearing the news she would hold her own grandson ‘a little tighter, watch his little chest fall up and down, burn the image of his smile into my brain,’ knowing she is not promised another day with him.
‘Make sure you know where your loved ones will spend eternity,’ she wrote. ‘Have the uncomfortable conversations. One day that may be the only thing that brings you peace.
‘I know Layton saw Jesus face to face yesterday,’ Davis continued. ‘Oh the joy he is experiencing.
‘So we will take care of his sweet Granna for him, and wait to meet again one day. Rest easy, sweet Layton.’
Layton Ellison, 19, was a devoted boyfriend, with a friend writing on Facebook that he meant the world to his girlfriend, Trudy Hardegree
Ellison was also known as an Alexandria high school baseball star
His friends also wrote about how devastated they were by his loss on Facebook
Hurricane Ida crashed onto shore on Sunday with 150 mph winds and heavy rains.
In Alabama, it brought snapped trees, flipped vehicles and flooded some streets after it temporarily reversed the Mississippi River’s flow, according to the Alabama News Center.
It died down as it passed over inland Mississippi. It is now considered a tropical depression as it is headed to the Mid-Atlantic region across southern New York and into New England, where it could bring potentially deadly and damaging flash floods.
‘Five inches of rain doesn’t happen in this region very often,’ CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. ‘We could easily see some deadly flash floods like we saw in Tennessee last week.’
Nearly 1,000 customers across Alabama remained without power on Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks outages across the country.
Two others were killed Monday night when seven vehicles plunged into a 20-foot-deep hole near Lucedale, Mississippi, where a highway had collapsed after torrential rains.
Among the crash victims was Kent Brown, a ‘well-liked’ 49-year-old father of two, his brother Keith Brown said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. Keith Brown said his brother was in construction but had been out of work for a while. He didn´t know where his brother was headed when the crash happened.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he expects the death toll to rise.