SELKIRK — A six-year-old boy received an electric shock from an outlet in a Selkirk apartment on Wednesday, June 26, prompting the building to be shut down by building inspectors who declared it inhabitable for now.
The incident occurred at 10:49 a.m. within a two-story building on 130 Maple Ave. which contained five apartments. According to Bethlehem police, the boy had been playing with his brother but he fell onto an outlet, which had no cover, and it burned out and sparked. The boy was then shocked but he did not lose consciousness; no one else was hurt.
Selkirk Fire Chief Joe Michaniw, who was on the scene, said that the boy received “some bruising” but was not burned. He added that he helped calm the boy down upon arrival by inviting him to sit in the firetruck and the gesture made him smile and cheer up.
Also arriving on the scene were the Bethlehem Police Department, Bethlehem Building Department, Selkirk Fire Department and Delmar-Bethlehem EMS. The boy was treated on the scene was transported by Delmar-Bethlehem EMS to the Albany Medical Center Hospital as a precaution, given his young age.
Michaniw said that the town’s Building Department inspected the overall apartment building and found some “code violations” throughout such as leftover moisture from water leaks on the walls, unsafe air-conditioner wiring and placements, and so on. Spotlight News has contacted the Building Department for comment but did not receive any in time for this publication.
Michaniw said that residents said the building’s unsafe nature allegedly stemmed from how its landlord, who is said to be living in Long Island, “has said that he would fix the issues but he never followed through.” The Building Department is planning to follow up with the landlord.
This led to the building being deemed unsafe and residents were required to seek alternate living for now although they are able to return to their homes and retrieve their belongings. According to Bethlehem police, affected residents have made arrangements to stay with their relatives or were helped by the Red Cross.
“It may take a while to fix it all because there’s so much wrong with the building,” said Michaniw, who added that incidents like this are not common in Bethlehem. “This looks like the landlord ignored the issues.”
Bethlehem Police Cmdr. Adam Hornick said that because it is a rental property, “it is important on the landlords to stay on regular care on their property and make sure everything is within code.” He encouraged town residents to contact an electrician if they experience unusual power outages, for instance.
“But the boy is going to be okay,” concluded Michaniw.
For more information on building codes within Bethlehem, visit https://www.townofbethlehem.org/194/Building-Division or call 518-439-4955, ext. 1112.
Photos by Tom Heffernan Sr. / Special to Spotlight News