Skip to main content
Publish date:

37-year-old Minnesota Power worker fatally electrocuted

He was also a firefighter with the Grand Rapids Fire Department for nearly 17 years.

A Minnesota Power employee has died after being electrocuted while working at a substation near Bovey on Tuesday.

James Gibeau, 37, was in the bucket of a truck working to replace a line at the substation at 21441 County Road 434 when he was electrocuted at 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Duluth News Tribune, citing the Itasca County Sheriff's Office. 

A news release from Minnesota Power, which did not identify Gibeau, said he "experienced an electrical contact while working on electrical equipment at the substation" near Bovey. 

“This is a devastating loss and our hearts are with our coworker’s family, friends, fellow employees, and the entire community,” ALLETE CEO and President Bethany Owen said in a statement (ALLETE owns Minnesota Power). “We extend our deepest condolences as well as support and resources to the employee’s family and coworkers during this difficult time. Safety is at the forefront of what we do each and every day. We are working to identify what caused the incident and we are committed to help prevent anything like this from happening again.”  

Workers told the Itasca County deputies who responded to the scene that the line "was shut off but there was still a lot of static electricity that goes through the line," adding that Gibeau was holding a grounded metal ring with his left hand as he loosened bolts holding the small line he was removing, which was connected to the mainline, the Duluth News Tribune notes.

"The small line came out of the spot he loosened and he had grabbed it with his right hand making the connection complete," the sheriff's office said, according to the paper, which is when he got shocked. 

Minnesota Power has stopped working at the substation to allow a "thorough investigation" and has notified OSHA about the incident, the company said. 

According to an obituary, Gibeau was from LaPrairie, near Grand Rapids, and died on Wednesday at Hennepin County Medical Center "due to injuries sustained in an industrial accident."

"In his free time, Jim could be found outdoors, enjoying hunting and fishing, or tinkering in his garage; woodworking and inventing things," the obituary said. "Jim was a kind person who took pride in helping others."

In addition to working for Minnesota Power, he was a member of the Grand Rapids Fire Department for nearly 17 years, his obituary said. He also coached baseball and hockey in Coleraine. 

A funeral service is planned for Tuesday, March 30. 

Bring Me The News has reached out to the Itasca County Sheriff's Office for information. 

Next Up

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotan infected with omicron was vaccinated, had booster shot

The Hennepin County man received his booster shot in early November.

Timothy William Tuit

2 people plead guilty in fatal Dakota County home invasion

Two others charged in the incident will go to trial next year.

south lake minnetonka police department

25-year-old arrested after multi-city police chase in western suburbs

Police were called for a welfare check but learned it was a domestic violence incident.

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 8.34.54 AM

After getting COVID, Harrison Smith still not considering vaccine

The Vikings safety says he doesn't plan on getting vaccinated.


First omicron variant COVID case detected in MN

The individual is an adult male who lives in Hennepin County and had recently traveled.

wright county Sheriff Sean Deringer

Minnesota sheriff bashes MPD, 'disgusted' by officers' actions

The sheriff said he will no longer defend the Minneapolis Police Department.

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 7.59.52 AM

More than 2 years after announcing, Duck Donuts finally opens at MOA

The grand opening of the new location took place Wednesday.


power lines

2 men killed in separate power line accidents in Minnesota

The incidents happened in Goodhue and Becker counties.

power lines

Worker dies after equipment touches power line in SE MN

The 37-year-old was operating an aerial lift when the incident happened.

power lines

Man killed when semi-truck touches power line in NW Minnesota

The man was found next to the truck in the parking lot of a business.

wind turbine

Minnesota Power to retire coal plants, plans to be carbon-free by 2050

It will retire and convert its remaining two coal plants by 2035.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 11.15.34 AM

40-year-old Iron Range man arrested in fatal stabbing

He's suspected of stabbing a woman in his apartment.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

18-year-old arrested over fatal shooting of teen in Brooklyn Park

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed on Aug. 17.

Kyle Tibbs

Tributes, donations for Minnesota firefighter who died unexpectedly

Kyle Tibbs, 25, worked as a firefighter for the Lake Johanna Fire Department for five years.