Volume 20 Issue 15 | Aug. 31 - Sept. 6, 2007
Yellow lab survives electric shock on Soho street

Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky

Socha, owned by Joe Doran, middle left, after she stepped in a puddle Wednesday and received an electric shock from a manhole cover. A few hours later, a Con Edison crew came to sweep the puddle and fix the manhole.

By Tequila Minsky

Soho resident Jon Doran was going out for his morning cup of joe Wednesday and walking up Thompson St. with his yellow lab, Socha. They were forced to take a slight detour as the film crew of the Biography Channel had commandeered the sidewalks adjacent to the handball courts at Spring and Thompson Sts. while shooting promos.

Crossing back to the west side of Thompson, mid-block, Socha (pronounced Sasha) stepped into a puddle in the street near the curb in front of 105 Thompson St. and began yelping and squealing in sounds Doran had never heard before. The dog stiffened and fell into the water. Doran pulled her out — all 80 pounds, of what felt like dead weight. Socha appeared OK and her owner was mystified. A passerby, who witnessed these events, told him, “Your dog has been electrocuted.”

In the middle of the puddle, there was a manhole.

Immediately — the time was 10:48 a.m. — Socha’s owner, Doran, called 911. While waiting for authorities, he policed the puddle so no one else would wander into it. At 12:15 pm he called 911 again, pleading. At 12:38, almost two hours from the first call, the police finally arrived, followed shortly after by the fire department. The area was cordoned off.

Then, Con Edison workers came and tested the manhole. It was determined there was stray voltage on the service box cover to the tune of 100 volts, which is less voltage than an electric outlet according to Con-Ed spokesperson, Chris Olert. “If anyone even suspects stray voltage, in a public or private place, they should call: 1-800-75-CON-ED,” he commented. “We have an extensive program to test for stray voltage.” Olert also mentioned that the manhole had been tested in June and there had been no evidence of stray voltage then.

Con-Ed continued to work on the manhole in the afternoon and by nightfall it still remained cordoned off.

“This really rattled me, “ Doran said. Although Socha seemed fine, Doran said he was taking his dog to the vet to get checked out.

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