A 6-year-old boy was in critical condition on Thursday after falling from the roof of a six-story Bronx building into an elevator shaft, police and firefighters said.
The boy was unconscious when officers and firefighters found him about 12:45 a.m. atop an elevator in the building’s basement, in the Grand Concourse near East 168th Street, officials said.
His skull was fractured and he had injuries to his body, officials said. He was transferred to the Haarlem Hospital for treatment.
The boy, whose name authorities did not immediately release, was at his first-floor apartment on Thursday with a housekeeper who was there to care for him, officials said. His grandfather was also there, officials said. His mother was at work.
At one point, police said, the grandfather heard the front door of the apartment slam shut, got up to see what was going on and noticed the boy was gone.
Using security video, investigators determined that the boy climbed the stairs to the sixth floor and then went up the roof via a second flight of stairs. When he got there, he opened an unlocked door to the elevator shaft, police said.
While a grate sits behind the elevator door and covers the shaft, there is an opening about half a meter through which the boy fell, police said. It was unclear what floor the elevator was on when the boy fell.
Monica Villalta, who lives on the fourth floor of the building, said the boy had appeared at her apartment several times in recent months.
“He came to my door about twice and rang the bell,” said Mrs. Villalta. “He came in and I had to get him out.” In at least one instance, she said, the boy’s grandfather was right behind him.
“I thought he was lost, but no, his grandfather told me he does,” she said. He told her that the family had tried to change the locks on their doors to keep the boy from wandering, but had learned how to unlock them.
Conditions inside the building, at 1235 Grand Concourse, have been the source of dozens of complaints over decades, including several elevator violations, according to data from the New York City Buildings Department.
Three elevator-related violations from 2020 and 2021 had not yet been resolved on Thursday, data shows. The violations related to “harmless” defects found by a private elevator inspector during routine inspections required by city law.
In one case, two elevators were missing a system to prevent them from moving when the doors were open, a spokeswoman for the Buildings Department said, but noted the system had been installed in both elevators last year. In another case, an elevator’s fan was not working properly.
Inspectors have issued more than 40 other violations related to elevators in the building since 1989, records show. They were all fired or dissolved.
The administration of the building department is also showing complaints this month and in November and December about a lack of heating or hot water in the building. There are 28 outstanding violations related to cracked bathroom walls or floors, faulty smoke detectors and radiators, and possible lead paint. Records show that in 2018, inspectors found cracked windows, crumbling rocks on the exterior of the building and objects on the fire escape.
A spokeswoman for the Buildings Department said inspectors were at the property on Thursday investigating how the boy gained access to the elevator shaft, including whether there were any problems with doors to the shaft.
City records and court records indicate the building is a cooperative with the 1235 Concourse Tenants Corporation as owner and Michael Goldberg identified as president.
A woman who answered the phone at a company that shares an address with the company said Mr Goldberg was traveling on Thursday. He did not immediately respond to a phone call and email asking for comment.
In a lawsuit filed against Mr. Goldberg in 2019, people who identified themselves as residents of the building accused him of buying up stock in the property with the aim of improperly attempting to gain control of the property. The suit remains active.
An attorney for Mr Goldberg and the company declined to comment.
Ray Sebastian, a resident, spoke outside the building on Thursday, describing it as “well-maintained” and “beautiful”. He said he had no major problems with the condition of the property, nor had he heard any complaints from others.
In a city of elevators, the taxis and the shafts they travel through have occasionally proved dangerous and even deadly, with children sometimes being the victims.
In 2014, a 12-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell about 10 meters down an elevator shaft at a SoHo cooperative. In 2016, a 4-year-old boy died after falling down an elevator shaft in a Brooklyn parking garage.
Later that year, a 6-week-old girl in a stroller plunged eight stories to her death in an elevator shaft of a Brooklyn skyscraper. Her mother had called the elevator to the 23rd floor, and when the door opened, she pushed the stroller inside. To the mother’s shock, the elevator was not there. It was stopped on the 15th floor.