Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

1994 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Sizzling Scaffolding
1994 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

(1982, Texas) At the Amarillo Fairgrounds, some buildings were in need of a coat of paint, so local contractors were hired to do the job.

Between the buildings was an angled culvert, designed to drain rainwater away from the buildings. Because of the slope, the wheeled painter scaffolding tended to roll downhill, so the painters removed the wheels on the scaffolding. They were in the process of moving the scaffolding, when the metal structure met a transformer. The painters were killed.

The story made the headlines. The town was abuzz with talk of the tragedy, how it had come to pass, and whether the city was liable for damages. The city officials decided they needed to conduct an investigation.

With much fanfare, they arrived at the scene of the incident, prepared to personally recreate the circumstances. Two officials grabbed the scaffolding in the exact same location as the two painters, began to move the scaffolding... and were promptly electrocuted.

Darwin asks, Can you confirm? I smell an Urban Legend. Mark Harrington responds with THIS LINK showing an incident involving scaffolding in 1995. He says, "There is no secondary electrocution (of officials)" and adds, "The entire archive of investigated electrical fatalities from 1982 to 2005 is here."

Share © 1994 - 2022
Submitted by: Larry Vanover
Reference: Amarillo Daily News

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