Tributes Pour In For WAPA Lineman Jason Julius Who Accidentally Electrocuted Himself To Death in Sugar Estate During Power Restoration Efforts On Tuesday
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority said one of its linemen, Jason Julius, was accidentally electrocuted and died on Tuesday while working in the Sugar Estate area of St. Thomas as part of a WAPA electrical restoration crew.
WAPA Executive Director, Julio Rhymer ordered an immediate halt of hurricane restoration work slated for today territory-wide in honor of the fallen lineman and his family.
“It is with deep regret, sorrow and a sense of great loss that I must advise our community of an accident which claimed the life of a WAPA lineman on St. Thomas this evening,” Rhymer said. “The men and women of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and the members of the Authority’s governing board join me in offering our deepest condolences to his family who today suffered the greatest loss.”
Motorcade tributes to the fallen Julius took place on St. Thomas and St. Croix on Wednesday with WAPA workers driving their government vehicles in a low speed tour of each island.
Rhymer said that “members of the WAPA family are encouraged to use this day to reflect on the sacrifices our linemen and plant personnel make each day in producing and distributing electrical service to the people of the Virgin Islands.”
“We ask for the prayers of the entire community as we go through a most difficult period during already trying circumstances,” he said, adding that St. Thomas and St. John has been less than one percent energized by his crews since the storm, while St. Croix is nearing 100 percent restoration.
Meanwhile, Virgin Islands Republican Party Chairman John Canegata said:
“My deepest condolences to the family and co-workers of the fallen, this has truly saddened us here at the USVIGOP,” Canegata said. “While we understand nothing we say or do, can bring back the life that was lost, we can certainly tell you how much Virgin Islanders appreciate the fact that you were out there working hard on their behalf.”
Canegata said that the V.I. Republic Party agrees with WAPA’s decision to take the day off despite the fact that nearly 20,000 electrical customers — mostly in St. Thomas and St. John — remain without power eight days after Hurricane Irma.
“Out of respect for the ultimate sacrifice made by this member of the WAPA family, a halt has been ordered to all hurricane restoration work in both districts on Wednesday,” he said. “We ask that Virgin Islanders without power to remain patient during this difficult time, rest assured the good folks at WAPA will be back at it the next day.”
The party chairman said that it continues to try to encourage Washington D.C. to fund relief efforts for the territory.
“Our party will continue to reach out to the White House and the U.S. Congress to ensure that aid and relief are provided in a timely manner. We thank President Trump for his words of encouragement and his swift actions which helped the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a $15 billion disaster relief package with a broad bipartisan majority. Please join me and my family as we pray for the continued safety of the hardworking folks at WAPA.”