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Lester James Olds

Posted By: Leslie Vaughn
Date: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, at 12:37 a.m.

Spokesman Review (Spokane Washington) articles of the accident that caused his death on January 30 2 :

Electric Shock Fatal to 2 Men
Second Lineman is Killed in Rescue Try at Geiger

Two Power City Electric company linemen were electrocuted yesterday afternoon while working at Geiger field. They were Richard C. Seemann, 38, E11409 Broadway, and Lester J. Olds, 36, N1203 Woodruff Road.

Eyewitnesses said Olds apparently died in a heroic attempt to save his friend. Seemann was hurried to the Geiger dispensary and Olds was taken to Fairchild hospital but both were dead on arrival. Air Force Chaplains administered last rites. An official of the power company said the firm has converted the old 2300-volt power system at the base into a 7620-volt system. The new lines have been installed and Seemann and Olds, who had been working on the project two or three months, were removing the dead wires of the old system from poles. Both the dead lines and the new "hot" ones were on the poles

Near Base Exchange

Seemann and Olds were taking down wire in front of the base exchange. Two eyewitnesses, Airman 3/c John M. Jones and Airman 2/c R.A. Speaker, said one man was inside the truck. He was believed to be Olds. The other man, thought to be Seemann was beside the truck. Olds was operating the wire take-up reel through the winch control in the truck and Seemann was standing near the reel checking that the old wire was going on properly.

The airmen said they saw another wire, obviously a "hot" one, fall onto the wire the men were reeling up. Sparks leaped from the old wire and Seemann fell as he was hit by 7620 volts.

Both on Ground

Olds jumped out of the truck, shouted at the airmen to get help and ran toward Seemann. The airmen ran into the near-by non-commissioned officer's club and called a doctor.

When they went back out to the tragedy scene second later both Seemann and Olds were lying on the ground.

Sheriff's Detectives Norman Tiplady and John A. Lund said it appeared that Olds was electrocuted in trying to free Seemann.

Two telephone Linemen who were working in the area freed Seemann and Olds and began giving them artificial respiration. A Washington Water Power company employee disconnected the power.

Second Article

Men Electrocuted
Last Rites Fixed for Two Victims

Funeral services were set today for two Spokane Valley Linemen electrocuted yesterday while working on power lines at Geiger Air Force Base.

Services will be [Wednesday at 3:00 pm] for Lester J. Olds, 36, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Argonne and Boone, Dishman.

Services for R. C.(Dick) Seemann, 38, will be Monday at 3 p.m. at Thornhill's Valley funeral home, with burial at The Pines.

The Power City Electric employees were removing a 2300-volt power system near the base exchange at Geiger when it came in contact with a live wire.

Eyewitnesses reported the men were reeling the dead line onto a truck when the line came in contact with a live line about eight feet above. Airmen reported the charge struck one of the men and the other rushed to help him. Apparently he died in the effort to rescue the other man.

Olds was born in North Dakota and lived at Thermopolis, Wyo., before coming to the Spokane area. He lived at Colville seven years before coming to Spokane. He was a marine during World War II.

Survivors include his wife at the home N1203 Woodruff road, three daughters, Leslie May,14, Constance Lorraine, 12, and Barbara Jane, 6; his mother and four brothers and three sisters all living out of state.

The body is at the Hazen & Jaeger's in the Valley. Bishop E. Keith Collier will officiate at the services"

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