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DWP WORKER, FATHER OF 7, FALLS 60 FEET TO DEATH.

Byline: Staff and Wire Services

CASTAIC -- A 45-year-old father of seven plunged about 60 feet to his death while making repairs outside Castaic Power Plant, officials said Sunday.

Donne Ballard, a maintenance construction worker, slipped and fell around 7:30 p.m. Saturday while making repairs, said Joe Ramallo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

A DWP employee since Feb. 19, Ballard had been working at the plant, which is undergoing maintenance this month.

Ballard leaves behind seven children -- four boys and three girls -- including an adult daughter, Karesha, whose birthday was Sunday.

``He's one of the men who keep the power on and the water flowing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,'' Ramallo said.

Ballard was part of the Integrated Support Services unit of the General Construction Division at the DWP and had been working at Castaic for about two weeks. His brother, Darrel, is also an employee of the DWP and works in the water system.

Employees working at the plant called 911 and attempted to revive Ballard. Fire Department and emergency crews responded. A Los Angeles County Fire dispatcher, who would only identify himself by his initial ``A,'' said they called for a helicopter to transport the man, but the chopper couldn't get in because of low clouds and poor weather.

Ballard was repairing something outside the plant when he fell into a concrete flood control panel, according to the dispatcher. Ramallo said the accident was under investigation and it was too early to tell whether Saturday's stormy weather had anything to do with the fall.

Ballard's death prompted the DWP to suspend all non-essential operations Sunday at the power plant.

Power was not disrupted because the plant was already offline for repairs.

Workers from the Division of Occupation Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, were dispatched to the scene last night, Ramallo said.

``All nonessential work for construction employees has been suspended and the scene of the accident preserved for Cal/OSHA and the LADWP investigation team,'' Ramallo Ramallo.

The power plant has been shut down this month while the California aqueduct tunnel between Pyramid Lake and the plant are inspected. The plant is undergoing significant maintenance work.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 11, 2006
Words:371
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