Volunteer dies in accident

A volunteer for Habitat for Humanity died Wednesday while working on homes being built along Fairview Avenue. (Suzette Wenger / Staff)

Lancaster police said a 73-year-old man died Wednesday after he suffered a severe electric shock then fell from the roof of a home he was helping to build for Habitat for Humanity.

Ron Mellinger was attempting to install a piece of aluminum flashing on the roof of 643-645 Fairview Avenue when the flashing came into contact with a high-voltage power line, according to Detective Chris DePatto.

Mellinger was shocked and fell from the two-story roof. He was taken to Lancaster General Hospital, where he later died, DePatto said.

DePatto said an autopsy will be conducted to determine if Mellinger died from the shock or the fall.

The accident happened at about 11:45 a.m.

Lancaster Area Habitat for Humanity executive director Stacie Reidenbaugh said in an e-mail to a reporter that the organization did not wish to comment on the incident Wednesday night.

Mellinger reportedly had been a volunteer with LAHH for several years.

According to newspaper records, he was honored by the organization in 2008 as a construction volunteer of the year. The article stated he was retired from High Industries.

Wednesday's accident happened at LAHH's Fairview Build development at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Seymour Street.

According to the LAHH website, workers are constructing the second phase of the 19-townhouse development.

As a result of Wednesday's accident, power to the immediate area was shut down for a portion of the afternoon at the request of city fire officials.

PPL regional community relations director Teri MacBride said power was taken down to provide a safe working environment for emergency personnel needing access to the area.

The outage lasted from about 2:15 to 3:40 p.m. and affected 1,163 customers, MacBride said.

She said the area is served by a 12,000 kilovolt line that covers a significant area but that PPL was able to sectionalize the outage so it affected as few customers as possible.