FREMONT — A private contractor involved in pole inspection work on equipment owned by NIPSCO was electrocuted Thursday morning.

The incident occurred off of S.R. 120 near C.R. 25E, near Peace Lutheran Church, at about 9:30 a.m., where a private contractor working for NIPSCO was conducting a pole inspection, said Dana Berkes, NIPSCO’s communication manager.

“Thursday morning, we were notified of a potential fatal incident in the Fremont area involving work being conducted on a pole inspection project. While we are in the process of gathering more information, we can confirm that there was one fatality and it did not involve a NIPSCO employee,” Berkes said.

Steuben County Deputy Coroner Rodney Snyder said the worker, Cody Griffin, 29, Reed, Kentucky, died from electrocution.

“It’s a sad day,” Berkes said, somberly, in a phone conversation with The Herald Republican.

When Steuben County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and other emergency responders arrived on the scene, they found Griffin partially in a hole in the ground at the base of a utility pole, where he appeared to be deceased.

Sheriff’s deputies and first responders were unable to approach Reed initially due to live electrical wires. Once NIPSCO officials were able to make the area safe, the victim was recovered from the hole and identified.

NIPSCO had to cut power in the area in order for emergency personnel to do their work. At one point, NIPSCO was reporting 647 customers without power, which was completely restored by early afternoon.

Preliminary investigation indicated that Griffin was doing contract work on the utility pole at the time of the incident, which remains under investigation by the Steuben County Coroner’s Office.

Berkes said NIPSCO is also conducting an inquiry into the incident.

Assisting the Sheriff’s Office at the scene were the Fremont Police Department, Fremont Fire Department, Steuben County Emergency Medical Service, Steuben County Coroner’s Office, Steuben County REMC, NIPSCO and the Fremont Community Schools Transportation Department.

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