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#33316 - 01/18/04 09:12 AM THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
A 30 year old woman gets electrocuted when she stepped on a manhole cover on a New York City sidewalk while walking her dogs. This is from the NYC Daily News of January 17, 2004:


Woman, 30, killed while walking dogs in E. Village


A woman walking her two dogs in the East Village was killed when she fell onto an electrified Con Ed cable cover in the street last night, police said.

The dogs stepped onto the metal and cement covering and began fighting with each other in fright and pain, witnesses said.

They said the woman, Jodi Lane, 30, of E. 12th St., slipped and fell on the snowy ground as she tried to separate the panicky pets - and wound up on the charged slab.

Some 110 volts of electricity raced through her body.

The freak accident occurred in front of Veniero's, a popular pastry shop and magnet for tourists on E. 11th St. near First Ave. at 6:23 p.m. as Lane and her animals, an Alaskan Malamute and brown pit bull mix, crossed the street.

"All of a sudden, you could hear the dogs fighting, barking," said Jeanette Pacheco, 22, a Veniero's employee. "The brown dog had the white dog by the throat, and you could see blood in its mouth and on the sidewalk. The woman was screaming for help."

Stefania Lester, 50, a Veniero's cashier, said when Lane tried to separate the dogs, "one of them attacked her and she slipped and fell. She must have touched the grate."

Eagle Glazer, who watched the horror from his apartment window, said it was clear something terrible had happened.

"The dogs were lying still," he said, "and the woman was near them on the pavement, twitching."

Police said more than a dozen people surrounded Lane and tried to help. But only Siobhan Cronin was brave enough to touch her.

"I got to her and held her head," Cronin said, "and I could still feel the current coming through her. She was foaming at the mouth. All I could really do was cover her with my hat and jacket and try to comfort her."

Police said the 4-by-5-foot rectangle covered a Con Ed service box, where wires come together underground.

They said a live cable suffered a loss of insulation because of road salt and melting snow and came into contact with the metal on the cover, sending the deadly current running through it.

A cop touched Lane and got a jolt that sent her to Bellevue Hospital for overnight observation. Police then kept other people away from Lane until an ambulance arrived. She was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Medical Center at 7:30 p.m.

Lane's pets suffered severe burns and other injuries but survived, police said.

Both dogs had burns on their paws and the mixed breed "had his toenails burned off," according to Cronin, the good Samaritan.

She said a neighbor of Lane's on E. 12th St. took the dogs to a private vet, where they were treated and released to him.

In Lane building, where she and her boyfriend had a penthouse loft, landlord John Black, 50, said the young woman "was beautiful and everyone her loved her. They were the happiest couple on the block. They had plans for the future. Happiness was just blooming with them." Black said Lane and boyfriend Alex Wilbourne were both "very successful" engineers who were looking to get into real estate. Although the couple only moved in a year ago, they made many friends by throwing rooftop parties in the summer, he said.

Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said: "We've got crews checking it out. We just don't know what happened yet."

Last night's incident was the latest in a series of winter electrocutions.

In 2000, a Manhattan woman's dog was shocked to death when it stepped on the sopping-wet carpet in a bank machine vestibule. Police said the animal was killed by electric currents flowing through ice and slush, helped along by salt used to melt snow.

A year earlier, a carriage horse was killed when it stepped on an electrically charged manhole cover on 59th St. and Park Ave.

With Martin Mbugua

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#33317 - 01/18/04 09:19 AM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
And the electric company doesn't give two hoots about any of this!!!

Here's columnist Michael Daly additional information on the subject of sidewalk electrocutions (from the Sunday NY Daily News of 18 January, 2004).

It's a jolt when tragedy
repeats itself

By Michael Daly

Twenty-seven years have passed since Nancy Whitehead walked with her 2-year-old daughter and the family's new husky down a slushy stretch of Convent Ave. Whitehead suddenly felt a tingling through her Frye boots. The dog that was her daughter's second birthday present howled and broke away, its hair on end.

"The dog rolled over and died," Whitehead recalled yesterday of the January 1977 incident. "Fortunately, my daughter was in my arms."

Later, somebody touched a light bulb to the pavement. The bulb lit up considerably brighter than the dim ones over at Con Ed.

"It is highly questionable that the sidewalk was responsible for the dog's death," a utility spokesman said at the time, although "some voltage" had been recorded and a feeder cable was found to have been corroded "by melting ice, snow and salt."

A year later, a German shepherd suffered a similar fate on Neptune Ave. in Brooklyn. Con Ed paid the burial expenses, but it was still just a dog.

Con Ed had neither issued a public alert nor posted warning signs in December of 1989, when Charlotte Chorot-Bernard walked her terrier over a snow-dusted manhole cover on St. Nicholas Place uptown.

"He went straight up in the air," Chorot-Bernard recalled yesterday. "He did it twice."

Chorot-Bernard felt two jolts through the metal leash. The dog lay dead when Con Ed arrived.

"In the beginning, Con Ed said it wasn't their manhole," Chorot-Bernard remembered.

The cops and firefighters pointed out a certain detail.

"On the manhole it says 'Consolidated Edison,'" Chorot-Bernard said.

But, again it was just a dog. Con Ed assured Chorot-Bernard she herself had been in no danger.

"They were saying it could never happen to a human being because we have on shoes," she recalled.

Two weeks later, Chorot-Bernard got a call from a woman on Central Park West whose dog had also been electrocuted. Chorot-Bernard was somehow not greatly comforted by Con Ed's assurances that humans were in no danger. She went about a city where signs routinely warn of wet paint and slippery floors, but never manholes that might be electrified.

"That drove me crazy for years, making sure not to walk on manholes," she said. "You have to watch every manhole."

Two years later, a carriage horse was electrocuted by stepping on a sodden Con Ed service box on E. 59th St. A witness remarked that a shock able to kill an animal that big could also kill a human. Con Ed suggested the horse's metal shoes made it particularly vulnerable.

The owner and the driver filed suit, charging that Con Ed permitted its cables to "become and remain in a broken, frayed, defective and dangerous condition ... so that electricity was allowed to escape and electrify the public roadway."

Con Ed settled with both parties, but continued to shrug off the danger. At least three more dogs had been fatally jolted by late December of 2000, when Stewart Lerman was walking his mixed breed on a snowy stretch of W. 13th St.

"She all of a sudden went out of her mind," Lerman recalled yesterday. "She was frothing at the mouth. She kept biting her own tail and chasing herself in a circle. She couldn't stop until I jumped on her and threw her in a snow embankment."

In the frenzy, the otherwise gentle dog bit Lerman in the face and he ended up at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Manhattan. His wife arrived and informed him of something that had escaped his notice as he turned down W. 13th St.

"She said somebody [had] put up a handwritten sign saying 'Beware of Electricity,'" Lerman recalled.

Not even a handwritten sign was on the block of E. 11th St. where Jodi Lane walked her two dogs on Friday. The dogs suddenly went as berserk as Lerman's had three years before.

Lane tried to intervene in this double frenzy and fell, losing that insulating protection of footwear that Con Ed insisted made humans safe. She was subjected to the same voltage that had been proven literally enough to kill a horse.

The news reached Lerman when his brother telephoned yesterday morning.

"He said, 'You're not going to believe it,'" Lerman recalled. "He was calling to say, 'See, it happened again.'"

Only this time, somebody had died.

"What a way to go," Lerman said. "This has got to stop."

Originally published on January 18, 2004

#33318 - 01/18/04 11:16 AM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
i thought manhole covers had been discussed at an earlier date as needing grounding requirements changed, did they?


#33319 - 01/18/04 01:45 PM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
mj Offline

Registered: 06/10/02
Posts: 188
Loc: meriidian, ms
look as if the egc was missing or not connected.

#33320 - 01/18/04 02:43 PM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
resqcapt19 Offline

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Have you ever seen a manhole cover that had an EGC connected to it? I haven't, but agree that would prevent most of these types of problems.

#33321 - 01/18/04 03:28 PM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
frank Offline

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 361
Loc: windsor ontario canada
I would think this has come to the point where criminal charged against the company should be brought forth.I thought i read a news artical the last time this happened with the black Lab where they stated all manhole covers light posts ect would be inspected and repaired.I guess not shame on them!and what is this crap about humans being safe beacuse our shoes will protect us did the spoke person really say this and does he\she still have a job?

[This message has been edited by frank (edited 01-18-2004).]

#33322 - 01/18/04 05:18 PM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
Attic Rat Offline

Registered: 12/14/03
Posts: 530
Loc: Bergen Co.,N.J. USA
..What an awful,terrible young,and all, had her life in front of her,and then this...My deepest condolences to her family. This never should have's time ConEd cleaned up their act...I saw this in this mornings paper and was pun intended..
I felt sooo bad..
.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"

#33323 - 01/18/04 09:50 PM Re: THIS HAS GOT TO STOP (another one gets electrocuted on the sidewalk)
wa2ise Offline

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 769
Loc: Oradell NJ USA
Saw this story on the local NYC TV news. They showed a rectangular metal plate manhole cover that looked to be about 2 feet by 4 feet. Also there was mention that the salt used to melt snow and ice may have ruined the insulation on the wiring below. Also, though not mentioned, the grounding on the metal plate likely was also ruined by the salt.

Wonder how many of these metal covers might become hot not with just 110V but 277 or even up in the kilovolt range from distribution circuits. Though a kilovolt fault would show itself in the slushy weather we had today.

Maybe those metal covers should have a layer of electrical insulation underneath to help buffer stray wires? Some material that won't mind summer heat and winter cold, and salt.


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