GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Two workers were inside a lift which came into contact with a high voltage power line outside an apartment building Thursday afternoon in Greenville.

The lift was outside the District West Apartments along Westfield Street.

Greenville Police said the lift caught fire after touching the power lines.

What started as a normal Thursday for two workers, turned into an emergency life-saving operation.

“It’s unfortunate because the fellas were just doing their job. They came and certainly didn’t expect to have this sort of problem happen,” said Wade Kent.

One person in the lift was able to jump from the lift onto a nearby balcony while the second was unconscious in the lift, police said.

The man that jumped, landed right on Wade Kent’s balcony.

“He was really crumpled up on this small balcony, here on all fours,” said Kent. “We brought him in, he sat down, but he was burned. You could see he was in pain.”

Just before 4:30 in the afternoon, the 911 calls began.

“We know that 911 calls came in, so that residents in the apartments were very active, folks on the Swamp Rabbit Trail were active,” said Tristan Johnson, Division Chief for the City of Greenville Fire Department.

Emergency crews said the workers were incapacitated for a moment when the lift struck a high voltage line.

“That vehicle shorted out, it was grounded to the ground, the line disconnected, and it started to arc,” said Johnson.

“So, once that happens, we’re not able to do any lifesaving work or measures, until the utility, which is Duke Energy, comes and de-energizes it and confirms that there’s no more danger.” 

To rescue the man on trapped on the lift, Kent said first responders had to think creatively.

“Because of the situation, they had to go through the window of the apartment, break it out, and put a ladder over and bring him over on a stretcher,” he said.

Chief Johnson said some people were evacuated.

Both men were alive, Kent said, when they left his apartment.

The second worker was airlifted to the hospital.

Just over 1,800 customers were without power in downtown Greenville due to the incident.