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Accident Electrocutes One Man, Injures Another

Contract workers on Columbia Pike apartment building were Chilean.

A worker on a south Arlington apartment building was electrocuted Friday, and a coworker was seriously injured in the accident.

Police say Patricio Bernal-Escobar, 23, and Mauricio Leyton, 32, both of Springfield, were working on the Columbian Stratford apartments, at 4990 Columbia Pike, at 11:20 a.m. Friday, March 29, when the accident happened.

The two men, Chilean immigrants, were replacing gutters and downspouts on the four-story building using a metal extension ladder. They were apparently in the process of repositioning the ladder when it fell backwards into a live power line.

The resulting surge of electricity left both men injured, and police said they found both men lying unconscious on the ground. Police performed CPR on Leyton at the scene.

Leyton was taken to the Northern Virginia Community Hospital, in Arlington, and was pronounced dead soon after arrival. Bernal-Escobar, Leyton’s cousin, was taken by helicopter to Washington Hospital Center, where he was treated for injuries described as non-life-threatening.

Matthew Martin, a spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, said police were satisfied the electrocution was accidental, and there was no ongoing investigation.

POLICE SOUGHT RELATIVES of the two men in the area, said Matthew Martin, a spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, before discovering they were cousins.

The rest of Leyton and Bernal-Escobar’s family still live in Chile, he said. Martin said police had no indication whether either man was in the country illegally.

A leasing agent for the apartment complex said that the two men were employees of Commonwealth Aluminum & Roofing, a Springfield company performing contract work on the buildings.

Michael McFeeley, a vice president of Commonwealth, said both men were employed by VR Gutters, another Springfield company subcontracting on the Columbian Stratford.

No one responded to repeated messages at a number provided for the company. But McFeeley said he knew the owner of VR Gutters was very upset about the electrocution and Leyton’s death.