Sunday 22 September 2019

Caleb praised for act of bravery

Caleb O'Brien leaving the High Court in Dublin last week.
Caleb O'Brien leaving the High Court in Dublin last week.

By Maria Pepper

A Wexford teenager who went to the assistance of a friend after he was engulfed in a fireball when they were both playing as children, was praised by a Judge in the High Court who approved a €60,000 settlement of his claim for damages against the ESB over the injuries he suffered.

Caleb O' Brien (17) who was nine years old at the time, was with friends making a camp in a copse of trees on the Newtown Road near his home when his pal Kurt O'Callaghan decided to put up a 'Keep Out' sign and hammered a nail into an ESB pole.

Kurt hit a cable as he hammered in the nail and was thrown back and consumed by a fireball. He suffered severe injuries and last year, the now 18 year old, settled his High Court action against the ESB for €700,000.

Counsel Jeremy Maher told the High Court last Thursday that Caleb did what any heroic boy would do and tried to help his friend and then ran and got help.

Mr. Justice Kevin Cross praised him and said he was a credit to his community.

Approving the €60,000 settlement, the Judge said it was a terrible experience for the young boys especially Kurt O'Callaghan who the court was told has since made a remarkable recovery.

'You are a credit to the community the way you looked after your friend. You deserve all the plaudits society can give you,' the Judge told Caleb of Newtown Road, Wexford who had sued the ESB over the incident on July 3, 2008.

It was claimed an electricity pole had been installed adjacent to a public wall when it was unsafe to do so. It was further claimed there was a failure to install any or any adequate signage warning persons as to the presence of dangerous high-velocity cables. The claims were were denied by the ESB.

It was claimed that after Kurt hammered in the nail there was a loud bang followed by a fireball which engulfed him and caught Caleb's right hand.

Caleb said he covered his eyes and was pulled back by another boy. He then ran to his house nearby to get help and Kurt was brought to hospital by a passing motorist.

Caleb's clothes, hair and eyebrows were singed and he suffered a burn injury to his right hand and was treated in hospital

Mr Maher told the court the boy suffered nightmares and flashbacks afterwards, along with post-traumatic stress.

Wexford People

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