Brooklyn – In response to yesterday’s incident involving a 10-year-old boy who fell into an open manhole while walking along 13th Avenue in Boro Park, Councilman David G. Greenfield is asking the city Department of Environmental Protection and the NYPD to review its response to the incident in order to prevent a similar accident from occurring again in the future. The child fell into the uncovered manhole at 13th Avenue and 49th Street at about 8:40 a.m. According to the DEP, it was notified that the manhole was uncovered at 8:28 a.m. after a resident submitted a 311 complaint. The DEP immediately dispatched a crew to the scene, and an NYPD officer was assigned to secure the scene in the meantime. At some point soon after, the child tumbled into the 20-foot hole before being rescued by two Verizon workers and Hatzolah members. While the youngster avoided serious injury, the outcome could have been much worse, prompting Councilman Greenfield to request that the NYPD and DEP investigate the city’s exact minute-by-minute response to the reports of the open manhole.
“First and foremost, I am relieved that this child only suffered minor injuries and will make a full recovery. Obviously this incident could have had a much worst outcome, which is why we need to immediately look into the city’s response beginning with the first 311 report of the broken manhole cover. We also need to know why the manhole cover was missing. After all, it is incumbent on the city to ensure that its infrastructure is maintained and properly working, and to have a plan in place for when situations like this arise,” said Councilman Greenfield.
Councilman Greenfield is also praising the quick thinking of Verizon workers Mike Kroski and Tom Prestia, who were passing by when the child, Moshe Altman, fell into the manhole, as well as Hatzolah volunteers for their quick response. The Verizon workers and a Hatzolah volunteer used a ladder to help Moshe climb out of the dark, watery underground space and kept him calm until first responders reached the scene.
“These men from Verizon are to be commended for not hesitating and stepping up to help a fellow New Yorker in need. It is very fortunate that they were in the area at the time. I would also like to thank Hatzolah for once again answering the call and being there during an emergency in our community. We are very fortunate that this story had a happy ending, and we must take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” concluded Councilman Greenfield.