Officials investigating after teen falls into manhole in Ballston Spa

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A fence and signs were put up after a teen fell into an open manhole in Ballston Spa.

The county is trying to determine if the site was properly secured prior and why the manhole was open.

County Administrator Spencer Hellwig says the contractor doing the work here will have to answer those questions.

“Aside from the raw sewage, those lines are filled with gasses and vapors that are deadly. He’s very fortunate,” Hellwig said.

Hellwig says he doesn’t want to see something like what happened in Ballston Spa on Saturday happen again. That’s why he says he walked this construction area with highway crews and Sheriff Michael Zurlo after emergency crews rescued a 14-year-old Ballston Spa teen from a manhole.

The teen was on part of the Zim Smith Trail when he fell into an uncovered manhole and into the sewer line at the construction site at Underpass Road.

Hellwig says he made sure this fence and more warning signs were put up following the teen’s rescue.

“I know that in the work area those trails are supposed to be shut down and secured so that the general public or anybody that’s using the trail isn’t in the vicinity of the construction that’s being done.”

The question remains was the area properly secured. Hellwig says it would have been up to the contractor to do that, Instituform Technologies. Now the county has launched its own internal investigation.

“Part of the investigation is to determine what measures were taken to secure the sight.”

Some neighbors I spoke with say it was not clear to them that the trail was closed. On Monday, bicyclists were using part of the trail.

“Do not walk around or walk into any of those areas, those signs are up for a reason,” Hellwig said.

NEWS10 ABC’s Lindsay Nielsen reached out to Instituform Technologies and the subcontractor here but my calls were not returned. The county says construction has been suspended.

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