SCALDED BOY'S AGONY DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN ; CITY KNEW OF BUILDING
New York Post, March 11, 1999
A 10-year-old Manhattan boy suffered third-degree burns over 40
percent of his body when he fell into a bathtub full of scalding
water - a hazard city housing officials knew about, The Post has
Little Sean Daniels was dressed and headed to school at PS 123 on
Feb. 22 when his mother, Linda, asked him to turn off the water she
was running for her bath, she said.
The bathroom was filled with steam that obscured his vision, and
when he reached for the faucet, he tumbled into the scalding water.
"I heard him scream and I ran in," a tearful Linda Daniels said. "I
lifted off the clothes and his skin was dripping off him like
NYPD Special Victims Squad detectives, who were sent to determine
whether an accident or abuse caused Sean's injuries, later tested
the water temperature and found it was above 200 degrees, Daniels
said. Normally, domestic hot water is 120.
Sean's misfortune was living at 101 W. 140th St., a 52-apartment
tenement cited repeatedly by city agencies for violations ranging
from failing to provide tenants heat and hot water to not allowing
city inspectors access to the boiler.
In February 1998, complaints of scalding water in the building had
been registered with the city Department of Housing Preservation and
Development, which was required by law to make repairs within 24
hours and bill the landlord, said Daniels' lawyer, Madeline Bryer.
HPD referred the matter to its Emergency Repair Unit. The agency
inspected the building on Sept. 23, but the results were not
HPD officials checked records back to December and found there were
no hot-water complaints, but information about prior months was not
Calls to the phone number listed for building owner Kromo Lenox
Associates did not accept incoming calls and Seagrass Management,
which runs the building, did not return calls.
Meanwhile, Sean remains at the Cornell Burn Center in serious
condition with second- and third-degree burns from his chest to his
ankles. The fourth-grader is missing skin on his right hand, chest,
genitals and legs.
He recently underwent skin-graft surgery on one leg and another
operation is set for tomorrow.
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