Springfield boy transferred to Shriners Hospitals
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | May 16,2013
Len Emery Photo
The South Street electrical substation in Springfield was the scene of a mishap where a boy suffered severe burns after climbing the fence. He is expected to survive.
SPRINGFIELD — A 12-year-old boy severely burned at a Green Mountain Power substation in Springfield was transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children and is expected to survive.
Ian Treadway, a sixth-grader at Riverside Middle School, was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Tuesday after he apparently climbed over an 8-foot fence at the South Street substation and touched electrified equipment.
He suffered burns all over his body and has a long and difficult recovery ahead of him, according to Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston.
The chief and his lieutenant, Mark Fountain, drove the boy’s parents, Kassandra and Jeffrey Hoisington of Springfield, to Massachusetts General on Tuesday evening after the boy was airlifted to Boston.
Johnston said the parents were in no condition to drive themselves to the hospital, and he said it was “the right thing to do” under the circumstances.
The parents were in shock, he said, and they didn’t know Ian’s condition during the 2½-hour trip. They made cellphone calls on the drive down to Boston and received “a zillion” text messages of concern and support, he said.
The boy’s grandmother stayed in Springfield to take care of the other children in the household, Johnston said.
The chief said Ian was burned by touching electrical equipment at the 46,000-volt substation, a large station adjacent to Freedom Park, one of the town’s playgrounds. There are well-worn paths connecting Freedom Park to the substation.
Ian apparently climbed the chain-link fence, which is topped by three strands of barbed wire, then started climbing some of the equipment within the fenced-in yard and grabbed a live electric wire, police said.
The force of the electric shock threw him off the equipment, the chief said. Two of Ian’s friends ran for help, he said, adding that he wasn’t sure how many friends the boy was with.
Johnston said when he got to the scene Tuesday afternoon, Ian was sitting inside the enclosure, as emergency workers waited for the power to be turned off to the substation by GMP, so they could treat and transport the boy to Springfield Hospital.
The police chief said he and Fountain drove the parents to Boston as soon as the airlift helicopter left Springfield. Once there, he said, he made sure they were connected with the Boston hospital’s social services professionals before they headed back to Springfield.
He said the parents are staying in Boston to be close to Ian. The boy’s grandmother told police he was in “stable” condition and that he had a “very peaceful night.”
“He’s very fortunate,” Johnston said.
The chief, who said his own daughter was a patient at Shriners Children’s Hospital in Boston in the past, said he knows the hospitals help out-of-town parents with housing and recommendations.
At least four different Facebook pages have been established to help the Hoisington family through this crisis and express support for Ian: “Helping the Hoisingtons,” “Staying Strong For Ian,” “Prayers for Ian Treadway,” and “Ian Stay Strong.”
One Facebook page said students at Riverside were urged to wear blue or pink to school Friday in support of Ian, and friends and family posted pictures of the boy.
Accounts to help the Hoisingtons cope with the boy’s medical expenses and the family’s expenses have been set up at One Credit Union, where Kassandra Hoisington works. People can make donations at either branch in Springfield or Claremont, N.H.
Dorothy Schnure, spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power, said the South Street substation has two warning signs on each side of the enclosure, as well as on the equipment inside the enclosure.
Two signs could be seen on the Clinton Street side of the substation: “Danger — High Voltage — Keep Out.”
The substation serves the majority of Springfield and parts of Chester, Schnure said, and 6,000 people were without power at the height of the outage stemming from the incident. She said 4,000 people were restored within 45 minutes, and 2,000 households without power for a couple of hours.
“We are worried about him and his family,” said Schnure, adding that GMP was conducting a complete investigation of the incident, and working with Springfield Police.