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Neighbors Tried to Save Teenager Electrocuted During Derecho

Nineteen-year-old is the third Fairfax County victim of the June 29 storm.

When a 19-year-old Falls Church man was injured in the vicinity of downed power wires in the midst of the raging June 29 storm, neighbors came to his aid.

Nathan Portnoy, a McLean resident and gave him CPR. Other neighbors gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while others tried frantically to call 911 for an ambulance.

Fairfax County police said Thursday that Dylan Shawn Cooper, 19, of Haycock Road in Falls Church, died Sunday as a result of injuries he sustained shortly after 11 p.m. June 29. Cooper was found unconscious in the vicinity of downed power lines near his home.

The office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be electrocution and the manner to be accidental, police said.

Portnoy said he was driving down Haycock Road when he saw Cooper and went to help him.

Lynn Heinrichs, a neighbor, said there was no power when a neighbor knocked on her door and said, "There's a teenager on the ground, and his heart isn’t beating and he isn't breathing."

Heinrichs tried calling 911 and "911 wasn't working." Then she called information at 411. An operator answered immediately, she said, and connected her to the Falls Church police department.

When she first asked the officer to send an ambulance she said he told her she would have to call Fairfax. (Haycock Road is located in Fairfax County but carries a Falls Church zip code.)

When she explained what was happening the officer called Fairfax.

She said she saw neighbors very close to live electrical wires giving Cooper mouth-to-mouth resuscitation trying to help him.

“I’m sitting there with lightening all around us ...  It’s pouring down rain; it was a  strobe-light sky," with bursts of lightening, she said.

A spokesperson for the Fairfax Fire Department said they received the call at 11:20 pm. "The ambulance showed up in a few minutes," she said.

A memorial service was held for Cooper Thursday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington, according to his obituary.

The obituary said he died noon on Sunday at Halquist Hospice in Arlington.

"He was a proud compassionate young man, and a loving son and brother. He is survived by his brother Daniel David Cooper, his mother Danette Cox-Cooper, father David L. Cooper, and his beautiful girlfriend Mary Earley," according to his obituary.

Cooper was the third Fairfax County resident to die as a result of the June 29 derecho.

Khiet Nguyen, 27, of Burke, June 29 after a tree fell onto his car, according to Fairfax County Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 90-year-old woman when a tree fell on her home as she was lying in bed, according to FCPD.

Elizabeth July 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Dylan is and will always be miss by many friends.
Robert F. Dorr July 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
This is a tragic loss. A fine young man. The United States may be the only developed country in the world not to have most of its key electrical wiring located underground. Having overhead wires that are vulnerable to this kind of damage is just one sign of how far our once-great country is falling behind. Since mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is cited twice in the article, it is worth noting that this method has been discredited and that immediate chest compression is more effective although, in this instance, it probably would have made no difference. Again, we've lost a fine young man.
Yvonne French July 21, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Though the official incident report allegedly did not give a response time, it was said that downed trees and wires on the way to the scene delayed the arrival of county rescue workers for up to one-half hour.
Bobbi Bowman July 22, 2012 at 08:26 PM
We have deleted a comment to this article because it made unsubstantiated allegations.

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