Police say shoddy work led to man’s electrocution
HOUSTON CHRONICLE | November 8, 2013 | Updated: November 8, 2013 10:32pm
Shoddy work by two electricians led to the death of a man at a west Houston hotel swimming pool, police said.
Officials said the electricians’ work on a pool at the Hilton Houston Westchase was done in a “substandard fashion” and led to the death of Raul Hernandez.
The Richmond man died about a week after he was pulled from the hotel’s pool after helping save a child, police said.
The child and others were in the water on Aug. 31 when pool lights came on and people began to complain of being shocked, police said.
Hernandez, 27, who was with his family swimming at the west Houston pool, at 9999 Westheimer near Briarpark, swam to the deep end to help a child get out. After doing that, he could not pull himself out.
Bystanders pulled out Hernandez, then he went into cardiac arrest, police said. Bystanders performed CPR on Hernandez, who was then taken to Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. He died on Sept. 6. Medical examiners ruled his death an accident caused by electrocution.
The electric current was caused by a short in the pool light, police said Friday.
Violations of code
An investigation by police, the city’s Public Works and Engineering Department and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation also determined the wiring to the pool light lacked a ground fault circuit interrupter that would have immediately cut off the current in the event of a shock, officials said. The pool also lacked proper bonding, police said. Both are violations of the National Electric Code.
The hotel hired Brown Electric, Inc., in June to replace the wiring and bonding for the pool, police said. Pyle, the supervisor for the job, did not get a permit for the work with the City of Houston, police said.
Through their attorneys, the family on Friday released a statement after the criminal charges were filed.
“As we continue to grieve Raul’s loss, we are pleased that so much progress has been made to determine those responsible for his death,” the statement says. “Although these charges will not bring Raul back, we hope the notoriety of this case will ensure a tragedy like this does not happen to another family.”
Hilton officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.
In an earlier statement, the hotel said, “We believe this was an isolated event, but we are cooperating fully with investigators to determine exactly what happened and to completely address any concerns.”