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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Life on the Line

  • When Daniel Shelden, a city electrician, went to work on Aug. 6 – the first day of a massive 100-year flood – he had no idea he'd spend his day waist-deep in water, climbing utility poles to turn off power for city streets.
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  • When Daniel Shelden, a city electrician, went to work on Aug. 6 – the first day of a massive 100-year flood – he had no idea he'd spend his day waist-deep in water, climbing utility poles to turn off power for city streets.
    That changed soon after he made the drive from his home near Dixon to Waynesville City Hall.
    After assessing the situation, he, other city electricians, and members of Waynesville Public Works Department were all involved in unfavorable circumstances.
    "It was dangerous," Shelden said, "but our job is always dangerous. A tenth of an amp can kill someone, and we deal with 7,200 amps."
    Shelden said he spent much of the morning operating a rescue boat when he first went to some of the locations that needed power disengaged during the flood.
    When more and more boats were need for rescue missions, Shelden was forced to wade through the flood's heavy current.
    That meant he and his co-workers had to go to several city streets and wade through waist-deep water in order to climb up the utility poles and use their standard long, insulated stick to kill the power.
    "The part of climbing the pole wasn't bad," he said. "We do that every day. It was the wading out in the water – the water was very cold."
    In addition to dealing with frigid floodwater, Shelden also had to ensure his standard insulated stick, used for turning off power, was unsubmerged.
    This wasn't the first time Shelden encountered a dangerous situation.
    "I worked on the ice storm not too many years ago, and I thought that was bad, but [the flood] was pretty bad, too," he said. "In this line of business, you know you're going to have dangerous situations. If you're not willing to [be in dangerous situations], you shouldn't be in this line of work."
    Shelden said many city employees are willing to put themselves in harm's way during the flood to ensure city residents were safe from potentially hazardous issues created by flooding.
    "Everyone [working for the city] was involved with this," he said, giving credit to all city employees involved. "It was just a total team effort. Everybody in our department had dangerous situations."

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