Local utility lineman recalls nearly losing his life on the job

A local utility lineman says he's lucky to be alive after a workplace accident left him with burns across his body but now he's struggling financially.

Matt Morris, 34, of Huntsville was critically injured while doing contract work on a BTU line south of College Station in January 2019.

Something went wrong as Morris was working on the line and he was rushed to a burn center in Houston.

"I remember seeing a blue flash and that's all I remember. The next thing I recall was waking up and taking off my gloves. My hard hat and safety glasses were melted," said Morris.

Morris has been restricted on what he can do physically as he's recovering and has another major surgery planned for next month.

Meanwhile, he and his wife and worried about making ends meet.

Morris says workers comp is helping but he's bringing in a lot less than what he's used to and his wife is having to take time off work to help with his care in the hospital and at a home.

"We've maxed out credit cards. We've had to take out personal loans just to make ends meet and keep afloat until I can get back to work," he said.

Morris wants to continue his job as a utility lineman but it's going to be a long road to full recovery.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor says powerline workers fall into the top 10 most dangerous and deadly jobs in America. From 2011 to 2015, more than 200 died while working on electrical and telecommunication lines and thousands more were injured.

The company Morris was working for when he was injured is Louisiana-based Echo Powerline.

After his accident, OSHA fined the company nearly $10,000 following an inspection.

A search of OSHA records online shows Echo Powerline was also investigated and given a $12,000 citation following a fatal incident involving an employee on a job site in Oklahoma in 2017. That case remains open.

If you'd like to make a financial contribution to the Morris family, click here for a GoFundMe page that has been set up online.