Atlantic Cities

Re-Read of the Day: An Air Conditioner Probably Won't Kill You

Re-Read of the Day: An Air Conditioner Probably Won't Kill You
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The heat wave that's swept the East Coast is making everyone at Atlantic Cities HQ quite miserable. But here's one thing we don't have to worry about.

As you may remember from last year's Village Voice article (written by the Atlantic Wire's own Jen Doll), it's exceedingly unlikely that an air conditioning unit will fall out of a window and onto your head. As she wrote (after some extensive Googling, newspaper reading, and calling around):

Since there seem to be few of these incidents, and fewer still reported by the cops or Department of Buildings, and zero on historical record that have actually killed anyone, we say...Worry away! This is exactly the sort of thing that takes our mind off being struck by lightning as we pass by a light post in a sudden thunderstorm while barefoot and on our cell phones.

There are, of course, a couple of unsettling anecdotes. In 2010, an air conditioner fell 15 stories and struck 24-year-old Esidra Valles in the head. He needed surgery and about 50 staples and stitches across his head and face.

He had this good advice for anyone who sees a falling unit:

"I feel like, if your air conditioner is falling, yell something," Valles said, "I heard nothing."

Also in 2010, an air conditioner struck 67-year-old Tony Franzese (who was out walking his dog) in the head after falling six stories and ricocheting off of awnings. He suffered permanent brain damage. And according to TheLoDownny:

“While being operated on, [Franzese] suffered a heart attack and went into a coma for several days,” and now “has permanent heart damage including a blood clot on the heart,” the suit says.

But silver lining - Franzese was able to successfully sue the building's landlord for millions, because he failed to properly secure the unit.

Photo credit: Heliosphile /Shutterstock

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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