August 15, 2004 — A 26-year-old skateboarder is scarred for life after she fell onto a red-hot Con Edison manhole cover mere blocks from the scene of a tragic death earlier this year when a woman stepped onto an electrified Con Ed cover.
Magazine receptionist and DJ Liz Wallenberg told The Post she was skating to see friends at an East Village club early Wednesday when she hit a bump in the road at 13th Street and Second Avenue.
“I landed with my arm and back straight onto the metal cover,” Wallenberg said. “I noticed it was kind of hot, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until my skin started to sizzle.”
A distressed Wallenberg lifted her shirt and saw a large red imprint from the manhole cover on her back. She rushed to the next block, to Second Avenue nightspot Second Nature, to get her friends’ help.
They took her to the emergency room at Beth Israel Hospital, where she spent the next seven hours.
“It was such awful pain,” Wallenberg said. “There was blistering, and it was like I was branded. You can see the ‘O’ and the ‘N’ from ‘Con Edison.’ The doctor said a lot of this will scar for life.”
The accident occurred two blocks from where psychology student Jodie Lane died on Jan. 16. The 30-year-old woman was walking her two dogs when she stepped onto an electrified manhole cover and died instantly.
A mixture of melted snow and salt, which corroded electrical wires, was found to have caused Lane’s death which stunned New Yorkers and led to community outcry.
Con Ed publicly apologized for Lane’s death in February while the electricity giant’s safety practices were put under the microscope. A spokesman for Con Ed at the time said an audit of all manhole covers in Manhattan deemed them safe.
But when asked yesterday about the latest incident, spokesman Chris Olert said they were “looking into” the incident.
“If there is a problem there, we’ll fix it,” he said, admitting that the incident sounded “severe.”
But Wallenberg, who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said: “They promised they would check everything and fix those problems. And now I have a manhole cover [branded] on my back.”
She said she’s considering legal action against Con Ed, as she was unable to work for three days nor was she able to perform her regular set, as “DJ L-Train,” at the Williamsburg club Metropolitan on Wednesday.
“I’m on prescription creams and painkillers,” she said. “I ache all over, and I find it really hard to sit down.”