One less thing to worry about as your face melts off during today's record-breaking heat wave.

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

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Brooklyn Is Booming. So Why Is It Shrinking?

    In 2017, New York City’s largest borough lost about 2,000 people, the first net loss since 2010.

  2. A woman at a homeless encampment in Anaheim, California

    The Unhappy States of America

    Even with the economy humming, Americans are feeling more anxious, depressed, and dissatisfied with their lives than they did in 2009.

  3. A vehicle goes by the scene of Sunday's fatality where a pedestrian was stuck by an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode, in Tempe, Arizona.

    Fatal Uber Crash Raises Red Flags About Self-Driving Safety

    After a woman in Tempe was killed by a self-driving Uber, local law enforcement was quick to absolve the company of blame. Transportation experts aren’t so sure.

  4. Life

    Amazon Go Might Kill More Than Just Supermarkets

    Supermarkets are community anchors. Amazon’s “just walk out” version embodies a disconcerting social transformation.

  5. A woman sits inside her store as man walks past a message displayed on a building, reading "0 shots, 0 killed today, in Chicago".

    Forget Broken Windows: Think 'Busy Streets'

    This theory suggests neighborhoods can fight crime by getting locals to clean up and maintain their own public spaces.