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12-year-old Chicago boy electrocuted by air conditioner

12-year-old Chicago boy electrocuted by air conditioner


CHICAGO (AP) -- A 12-year-old boy from the city's South Side was electrocuted when he tried to jump a fence and hit a central air conditioning system, authorities said.

Vontrail Pargo cut through a neighbor's back yard to make it home before the city's curfew Thursday night and somehow hit the air conditioner, said Ryan Pargo, Vontrail's 14-year-old cousin.

"We ran into two separate yards," Ryan said. "I heard him say, 'Ow!"'

The boy's knee was on the unit, his hand was on the fence and his eyes were rolled back, Ryan said.

"I kept tapping him. He didn't move," Ryan said. "I hoped he would wake up."

Pargo died about an hour later at Holy Cross Hospital. The Cook County medical examiner's office ruled Friday that the boy's death was an accidental electrocution.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said he had never heard of someone being electrocuted by outside air conditioning equipment.

"There was obviously some kind of problem with the wiring," Langford said. "Apparently, the outside of the air conditioning unit was electrically hot -- charged."

A combination of the boy touching the wire fence and hot, humid conditions would have amplified the effect of the voltage, said Dennis Mondero, spokesman for the city's Building Department.

"Our electrical investigator did find that there was sufficient voltage emitting from the central air conditioning unit that could cause significant injury," Mondero said.

Power to the air conditioning unit has been turned off.


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