NAPLES — An electrical worker installing meters at Naples Bay Resort suffered severe burns after an explosion that produced a fireball Thursday morning, forcing the evacuation of 24 hotel guests.
The 45-year-old contractor for Vanguard Utility Service Inc. is being treated for first- and second-degree burns to his upper body at NCH Downtown Naples Hospital following the 8:45 a.m. explosion, Naples fire officials said. The victim was installing a digital electric meter on the second floor of the Fifth Avenue South hotel when a large electrical flash fire occurred for an unknown reason.
“The guests reported hearing an extremely loud bang, followed by a fireball,” Naples Fire Chief Steve McInerny said.
The fire burned the victim’s face and his right arm, shoulder and chest. Some of the burns might be third-degree, McInerny said. The victim’s name was not released.
The electrician was wearing a face shield, eye protection and a fire-resistant shirt at the time.
“He owes his life to wearing that equipment and turning to shield his face from the fire,” McInerny said.
The fireball reached temperatures high enough to vaporize nearby metal, McInerny said. The fire was contained to the electrical room, but a corridor of the hotel containing four rooms and a housekeeping area had smoke damage. Developer Jack Antaramian said 17 rooms were evacuated.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Damage was estimated by fire officials at $20,000.
The electrical worker was a subcontractor for Florida Power & Light, which had officials on-scene Thursday.