The 4-year-old boy who plunged to the ground from a sixth-floor window of a Bronx apartment building a day ago suffered two fractured legs and kidney damage but is expected to survive, cops say, thanks to a patch of grass that helped lessen the blow.
The child, who has not been identified, remained hospitalized Wednesday after being taken there around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday when he fell from the window at the Patterson Houses, a NYCHA complex on East 143rd Street in Mott Haven, police said.
Neighbors pointed to the grassy patch as possibly helping save the boy's life. They say he was conscious immediately after he hit the ground but he was bleeding from his head. He was taken to a hospital just across the street from the housing complex.
"Let me tell you something: It’s a miracle that he fell in this grass, that boy was still fighting," said neighbor Juanita Kelsey.
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Police have said their investigation is ongoing. It's not clear what caused the fall.
The window he fell from had an air conditioning unit. There was a small space to the side of it that had a piece of blue cloth hanging in it, with no window bars visible from the ground level. That's where witnesses said the boy fell through.
NYCHA says it is also investigating.
"NYCHA is investigating this unfortunate incident and will work with the family to make sure that they have the services they need," a spokesperson said. "Upon initial review, window guards are present throughout the apartment where required and were last checked in February 2022, and there are no repair work orders on record for the air conditioners present in the residence."
Window bars are required if a child 10 years of age or younger lives in the apartment, but guard rails are not required next to air conditioner units.
According to NYCHA's website, "there shall not be any unguarded spaces greater than 4 1/2 inches on either side of, or above the air conditioner. Spaces greater than 4 1/2 inches must be covered with rigid metal panels that can withstand 150 lbs. of pressure instead of accordion panels."
NBC New York observed multiple windows in the complex that did not appear to meet those standards, however, leaving some concerned.
"That’s why it’s best to have guard rails, to make sure the kids don’t have access to the windows. That’s the number one thing," one neighbor said.