Troubleshooters: Yacht club where diver electrocuted shut down by Ky. fire marshal

The fire marshal's emergency order declared the electrical hazard so dangerous to life and limb, the yacht club must be closed.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 3:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ahead of the busy Labor Day weekend, a yacht club on the Ohio River will not open for business.

Diver Keith Elkins was electrocuted working under the Prospect Yacht Club’s barges back in April.

A troubleshooter investigation last month uncovered the state had issued two stop work orders to the club for a lack of building permits.

The final order came two days before Elkins’ final dive.

New state records obtained by the WAVE News Troubleshooters show the state fire marshal has shut down the club until further notice.

State reports can be dry and technical, but this emergency order issued by the state fire marshal isn’t. He found the club is such an electrical hazard to life and limb, he closed it until further notice.

The emergency order was filed 11 days before WAVE reported its investigation into Keith Elkins’ death.

The Oldham County Coroner found Elkins didn’t have enough air, didn’t have a spotter and was drunk.

The coroner said none of that mattered, because it was electricity that killed Elkins during his dive.

An investigation found the state had told the club twice to stop all work, because it had not been issued the proper building permits.

An inspection of the marina’s gas pumps in 2021 failed because of some electrical issues.

Those pumps had never been inspected in the last two years by Oldham County inspectors, because no electrical permit had been issued either.

The fire marshal shut down the yacht club after more state inspectors documented 33 electrical violations.

The state also found electricity leaking from equipment, in one location, over four amps.

According to the state report, that’s four times the amount of electricity needed to cause a person’s body to burn.

An electric chair uses between seven and 12 amps.

The report said an objectionable amount of electricity would be found in metal, electrical equipment, and the water around the marina.

In WAVE’s prior story, the yacht club’s attorney disputed the coroner’s findings, saying no other divers were hurt by electricity when they recovered Elkins’ body hours later.

WAVE confirmed the Metro dive team had the electricity turned off and posted a guard at the shut off before starting their dive.