Sudden fire leads to Tennessee lineman's fall, death

MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — A power company lineman who was working in a lift bucket that suddenly caught fire has died.

Coffee County sheriff's Detective Kelly Smith tells news outlets 58-year-old Dean Batey jumped from the bucket to escape the flames Tuesday, falling about 15 feet (5 meters). Batey's employer, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, says he was conscious when taken to a hospital but died before he could be airlifted to another hospital.

Smith says it's likely that the fall killed Batey.

Batey was repairing a light at the time of the fire. Duck River Electric CEO Michael Watson says Batey didn't make contact with the power lines. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Watson says Batey's death is the company's first fatality. He had been with the company for 19 years.

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