Stray Voltage Is Electrifying Doorknobs In NYC Today

Not only has winter turned our cities into frozen hellscapes—it's also turning them into electrified death traps. According to Gothamist, a section of Sixth Avenue is currently closed off due to dangerously electrified doorknobs and grates—and melting rock salt might be to blame.

The phenomenon of "stray voltage" isn't all that uncommon, but it's more common in winter—when street salt and melting snow create an excellent fluid conductor that just happens to be dripping into buildings across the city. Such was the case early this morning, when the FDNY had closed several blocks of Sixth Avenue after detecting energized doorknobs and grating. So far, there have been no injuries—which seems miraculous, considering the stray voltage occurred during rush-hour on a weekday in Manhattan.

The most intriguing part of this news is how they found it in the first place. Gothamist's John Del Signore spoke to a ConEd spokesman, who revealed that ConEd regularly "roams the street at night, detecting stray voltage." Next time you're walking home late and see an ConEd vehicle pass you by, just think—it may be trolling for shocking doorknobs in your neighborhood, too. [Gothamist]

Image: MaxyM.