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Teen injured in explosion walking over protective mat at Con Ed work site

HARLEM – A 14-year-old girl suffered a second-degree burn on her ankle when she walked over a protective mat placed there by Con Edison.

Spirit Jones said it sparked and she heard a sound like an explosion.

“I heard it blow up it sounds like a bomb,” Jones said. “It blew up, it singed my pants, it burnt my shoes.”

A week ago, Jones and her mother, Erica, were walking up 133rd Street near the corner of Lenox Avenue when it happened. It’s a neighborhood they’re familiar with and a path they’ve taken countless times before. That night they walked on the sidewalk, over this protective mat they thought was designed to do just that, protect them.

“It’s rubber, something made to protect, it shouldn’t injure me or cause me harm.”

“I heard the sparks, I won’t lie I jumped,” said Erica, recounting the horrifying moments. “The sparks just flew I jumped and I pushed her back and I saw her leg smoking.”

Erica Jones explains why she’s speaking out.

“That could’ve been anyone, that could’ve been a child, a senior citizen, unfortunately it was my daughter and I don’t think things like that should happen,” Erica said. “I think there should be some accountability, especially when you’re dealing with live wires.”

This evening, our PIX11 crew saw countless people walk by the mat and walk over it. Tonight, caution cones were placed but the night Spirit was burned, she and her mom say there were neither orange/white cones nor warning signs.

Erika said it was raining that night and feared her daughter could’ve been electrocuted

“The EMTs, the doctors tell me my child could be dead,” said Erica. “That sends a chilling feeling through your body.”

As she showed her us her singed jeans and burnt sneaker, Spirit Jones says she’s concerned about scarring. The 10th grader with a sore ankle and pain in her leg, amazingly has not missed one day of school – and looks positively on what happened.

“I feel like I was actually lucky, I was actually lucky because it could’ve killed me.”

PIX11 News reached out to Con Ed. A representative for the utility company tells us this had to do with a temporary power line that was damaged. The company assures it has been replaced and is now safe. A more permanent fix will come at a future date when the utility makes arrangements with the adjacent building’s owner to get access inside.