CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Some children on the Northwest Side got an unexpected jolt when they touched a streetlight.
Faulty wires were causing an electrical current in the metal pole that zapped kids playing nearby.
No one was seriously hurt, and the city fixed the problem. But as FOX 32's Dane Placko reports, it's yet another sign of Chicago’s aging infrastructure.
"I accidentally put my hand on the pole and I got a big shock and my hand was tingling for a long time,” said 10-year-old Cole Brunger.
Cole was playing with water balloons on Tuesday with some of his buddies in the Sauganash Park neighborhood when water splashed one of the old streetlight poles near his house.
When Cole put his hand on the wet pole, he got shocked.
"Got zapped and it hurt like h-e-double-hockey-sticks,” Cole said.
Cole says the other kids got shocked too, and when they went to tell Cole’s mom about it, she got shocked too.
"I did a quick (touch) and I got an electrical shock,” said Ann Marie Brunger.
Anwar Nasser lives in the house closest to the pole and says they've been complaining about it for years, although the city says it has no records of any complaints.
"She got shocked. She touched the pole. She was crying. She came running in. And she doesn't want to get near this place even when she wants to go in the car,” said Nasser.
After Tuesday’s incident neighbors called the city and by nightfall a crew from the Bureau of Electricity had fixed the problem. A spokesperson told FOX 32 they: "... found a bare connection laying against the inside of the pole. (The supervisor) secured the connection with tape and cleared the stray voltage issue."
“They need to call 311 immediately and get that request into the system,” said Alderman Margaret Laurino.
Laurino says many of the aging street lights in her 39th Ward were replaced after a bond issue about ten years ago.
But now the money's run out.
"It's an issue probably not just in my community but across the city, that we have some aging infrastructure here. And we have to do our very best to make sure we keep our residents safe,” Laurino said.
Brunger says after her son got zapped, she checked the other light poles on her block and found exposed wire, which is something a kid or pet could easily touch.
"I think it's very scary. I think it's an accident waiting to happen. And potentially a lethal one,” mom said.