18-year-old Ryan Beman was nearly killed in an explosion that knocked out power to 2,637 Laramie customers today.

Beman was performing maintenance on the hydraulics of an Ingersoll-Rand VR-638 lift at A-1 Rental.  At 1:29 p.m., he tested the lift by raising the forks, and inadvertently contacted a power line, causing the machine to ignite.

“The fireman said they were surprised I was actually alive,” said Beman, who was able to jump out just before the machine caught fire.  He escaped shaken but unharmed.

According to Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Paul Murphy, the amount of electricity was so great that upon contact, the lift’s forks became welded to the power line.

“I can’t believe he got out alive,” said General Manager Chance Bibler.  “I’ve been the G.M. for Cheyenne and Laramie for eleven years, and I’ve never had anything like this happen, ever.”

Repairs were completed and power was restored at 3:19 p.m. Friday.