Shutterstock

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. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. A detail from a 1942 British Mandate map of Haifa, now a city in Israel.
    Maps

    Mapping Palestine Before Israel

    A new open-source project uses British historical maps to reveal what Palestine looked like before 1948.

  3. A ruby-throated hummingbird takes flight in a forest.
    Environment

    The Ancient Forests That Have Defied Urbanization

    In cities around the United States, old-growth forests have survived against the odds. But preserving them is not as simple as roping them off from the public.

  4. Maps

    Inside the Massive U.S. 'Border Zone'

    All of Michigan, D.C., and a large chunk of Pennsylvania are part of the area where Border Patrol has expanded search and seizure rights. Here's what it means to live or travel there.

  5. Life

    The Top Cities Americans Move to—and From—For Work

    Most of the top cities are the usual suspects, but there’s something odd happening in Silicon Valley.