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MLGW: Man electrocuted while climbing utility pole

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MLGW confirms a man was climbing a utility pole when he was electrocuted early Thursday morning.

It happened in the area near Argyle and Coker in New Chicago.

A neighbor said the death incident caused a power outage. MLGW confirmed power went out for nearly four hours.

"We do encourage people not to climb our poles. It's dangerous," MLGW's Gale Jones Carson said.

His wife  wife speaks out about the incident and says this isn't the first time he's tried this.

"I'm very devastated, I'm mean I'm in a lot of pain," said Georgia Johnson.

Johnson emotional as she talks about her husband of five years. George Johnson died early Thursday morning after he climbed this utility pole on Argle and Coker in New Chicago.

"I didn't condone my husband to go up on a pole and steal copper, I didn't," said Johnson.

MLGW officials say he touched a live wire and was electrocuted. Georgia who also works for the power company tells me she got that dreadful phone call while at work.

"I couldn't even drive, I couldn't even talk or stand up," said Johnson. "To learn about something as devastating as that about your husband on your job."

Johnson says her husband was just released from prison two weeks ago after a two year stint. She noticed he was acting strange which led to their last conversation.

"I suspected him of doing drugs and I told him I said, 'I think you're doing drugs and you're gonna have to leave.' And I was thinking he was going to go and sleep in the truck or something and come back and say, 'I'm sorry, we can work on it' because I was willing to work with my husband," said Johnson.

Johnson says this isn't his first time her husband committed such a dangerous crime.

"He had done it before, every time he go out on his journey after he run out of money, he'll start stealing copper," said Johnson.

Despite the situation, Johnson says she loved her husband and wishes things had gone differently.

"I just want people that's on drugs to seek help, stop stealing, stop going on the pole because it's not right," said Johnson. "Seek help, you need help, get help."

George was 48 years old and has three kids.

MLGW is reminding everyone only their employees can safely climb and touch their poles.