Everyone is still wondering how a woman fell through a sidewalk grate and into a electrical power vault on West 51st Street yesterday morning. The Daily News reports the victim, 26-year-old Jessica Hinksmon, could have been electrocuted by the 13,000 volts of electricity from the transformer. Hinksmon cried for help before firefighters used a "confined space stretcher and tripod" to lift her out. One of the firefighters who rescued Hinksmon, Lit. Tom Donnelly of Rescue 1, told the Post, "It's a scary thing to be surrounded by almost a foot of mud and electricity."

Con Ed is investigating why the grate, which helps cool the transformer, gave way. It sounds a like a freak accident, but given these responses from Con Ed, is it just us or do they sound less empathetic and more CYA?

  • Spokesman Chris Olert: "It was an accident, we apologize to [the victim], but why it happened we don't know. You would have to hit a certain spot on [the transformer] to be shocked or burnt. It's not as if the whole thing is dangerous."
  • Spokesman Alfonso Quiroz: "You can't lift one of these things with your bare hands. It's very heavy. They are very safe and there are thousands of them around the city."

Hinksmon is in stable condition at NY Presbyterian, with injuries to her neck, back, wrist and knee. You can see video of the fall here, and the News has a diagram. And amNY wonders if the the city is too scary and too much like Fear Factor these days, given the pipe that fell from the Deutsche Bank and other things in our dense living space. For any fearmongers, one professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell says, "With all the things that could go wrong, it's more amazing they don't."

Photographs from 1010 WINS