Power line victim remembered

A celebration was held for the woman who was badly burned by electricity in October and died five weeks later

  • Jan. 14, 2016 4:00 p.m.

A celebration of life was held Sunday for the Harrison Mills woman who was seriously burned by a live, low-hanging hydro line near Kilby Provincial Park last October.

After five weeks in a Vancouver General Hospital ICU bed, Shirley Nate succumbed to her injuries late in 2015.

Her sister Laura Nichols estimates about 60 people came to pay respect to Nate at the Harrison Mills Community Hall, with about half of the attendees local.

“We’re coping,” Nichols said. “Of course my mom is devastated, it’s her child. You never think your child is going to go before you.”

Nate who was 60 at the time of her death underwent seven surgeries while in intensive care and was stable a week before she passed away.

As a result of the accident she had lost both her arms, had numerous skin grafts, and would have faced years of rehabilitation.

“At the beginning she was doing quite well,” Nichols said. “Her body was reacting well after the operations, and the skin was healing.”

But as time went on, Nate’s immune system weakened and her health took a downturn after four weeks in ICU.

Her kidneys failed, her breathing was assisted and she was being fed through a tube.

“I couldn’t imagine the pain she was in,” said Nichols. “She was suffering a great deal.”

Nate died Nov. 25 last year from the injuries she sustained while walking with her dogs in her rural community near the live hydro line beside the dike near Kilby’s camping area.

The two dogs were killed and Nate’s body caught fire. She managed to yell for help, attracting the attention of campers in the nearby Kilby Campground.

Nate lived by herself with many animals in the small Harrison Mills community near the park.

There was speculation from neighbours that the woman had entered the bushes where the dangling power line was exposed to rescue her dogs who might have come in contact with the electrical current when they followed the scent of a dead raccoon.