UPDATE: 1 SCE Employee Killed, 3 Injured In Menifee Maintenance Accident

The fatality occurred at the scene, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Melody Hendrickson.

UPDATED AT 7:15 P.M.:  Winchester resident Jose Raul Ros, 38, has been identified by the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office as the Southern California Edison employee killed in Thursday's accident in Menifee. Click here for the complete report.

UPDATED AT 2:06 P.M.: As investigators continue digging into what caused today's deadly accident in Menifee that killed one Southern California Edison employee and injured three, a spokesman for the utility confirmed the incident took place in a small underground vault as workers conducted maintenance for the utility.

According to SCE local public affairs manager Raymond Hicks, the accident occurred at approximately 7:40 a.m. in an underground vault, no bigger than 14' x 14'. The incident location was Murrieta Road, at Ridgemoor Road, near the nearby Eastern Municipal Water District desalination plant.

Hicks could not confirm the cause of today's accident.

"We are still investigating," he said.

The SCE employees, whose identities have not been released, were doing maintenance work, Hicks confirmed. It's not immediately clear if all four were inside the vault, which Hicks described as a small space with a concrete top and a manhole in the center.

The vault feeds power to the desalination plant, he said. The plant converts salty, nonconsumable groundwater into potable water using a reverse osmosis process

It's unknown if there was smoke, fire or an explosion during the incident, Hicks said.

According to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Melody Hendrickson, the fatality occurred at the scene, and two of the injuries were caused by smoke inhalation.

Authorities had originally reported one fatality and two injuries in today's incident, but by noon Southern California Edison spokesman David Song issued an updated statement confirming the additional injury.

"Three additional SCE employees were ... injured in the accident and have been transported to area hospitals," Song said.

Hendrickson reported two of the injuries as "minor."

The identity of the employee killed is expected to be released by SCE and the Riverside County Coroner's Office, but not until next of kin has been notified.

"SCE will not release the victim’s name to employees or the public until it has notified the victim's family," Song confirmed.

At press time, Murrieta Road is still closed between Park City Avenue and Ridgemoor Road. 

Hicks said he estimated the road closures to last through at least 3 p.m.

Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Albert Martinez reported that power lines were down in the area, and Hicks confirmed that at press time the desalination plant is without power.

Martinez said the incident is  but Hicks said he could not confirm that.

kristin c April 25, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Prayers to his family
Terry Almy April 25, 2013 at 07:58 PM
These employees are the hero's. They do one of the most dangerous jobs there is to keep our electricity on, and they know the dangers but they do it proudly and without hesitation. It is terrible when something like this happens. My condolences to the family and to the crews working on that job. They will all be affected for the rest of their lives.
David April 25, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I sure hope this tragedy was not tied to the idiot thief who was trying to steal the copper yesterday. I agree with Terry... These folks deal with stuff that is deadly on a daily basis! I appreciate what they do and how they do it!!! Prayers to the Edison Family and the employee's family who lost today.
Jennifer Mendez April 26, 2013 at 12:21 AM
God bless this mans family and the Injured men. My husband works for Edison at the San Onofre Power Plant and we tend to forget that this is a dangerous job they are doing. Safety needs to be top priority but with the current cutbacks with the jobs this unfortunately could happen again. The workers are the ones putting their life on the line so the corporate guys can sit back and collect millions. Something needs to change with the company and they need to make safety number 1.


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