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Friday, May 6, 2016

Sub-station blast claims third life

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Staff Writer

A third man has died as a result of injuries sustained in an Aug. 31 explosion at a Mountain Home sub-station.

Jesse Zimmer, 27, of Mountain Home, died at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 13 from internal trauma at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield Mo., according to North Arkansas Electric Cooperative CEO Mel Coleman.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the Zimmer family at this time. Jesse was an outstanding individual. Everyone here at the Coop thought the world of him," said Coleman.

Coleman said Zimmer received extensive burns during the incident. He said over the last two weeks Zimmer had undergone several operations to relieve pressure building up in his chest cavity.

Zimmer had spent the last seven years as a line technician with NAEC.

Two of Zimmer's co-workers, Desi Jones, 41, and Ivey Hodge, 59, both of Mountain Home, died last week from injuries suffered in the blast.

A fourth man, Chris Hickman, 26, was released from St. John's Sept. 12. Coleman said Hickman is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

"We are thankful that Chris is doing well," said Coleman.

Coleman said the four men were working on a regulator in the Baxter 1 sub-station when the blast occurred. A spokeswoman with NAEC said the exact cause and circumstances of the explosion are still under investigation.

"It could be months before we have a definitive answer as to why this tragedy occurred," Coleman said.

Baxter County Sheriff Joe Edmonds said the incident at the sub-station appears to be an accident and law enforcement officials are not conducting an investigation.

Zimmer's funeral arrangements were unknown at press time.

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