A man was electrocuted and his wife seriously burned while allegedly trying to steal copper wiring from an electrical vault in South Gate, Los Angeles, authorities said on Sunday.
Jose Fernando Santillanes, 36, was killed at 4:14 p.m. Saturday when he triggered an explosion and flash fire on a vacant lot, South Gate police Lt. Keith Hupp said, Xinhua reported.
Maria Cortez, 33, who was severely burned while trying to pull the man off the current, was in critical condition at Grossman Burn Center, Hupp said.
"It was a pretty ugly scene," Hupp added.
The couple's two children were turned over to an aunt while their mother was fighting for her life, said Hupp.
The blast also caused an electrical outage in the immediate area, but service was restored to most customers within a few hours.