Young Forest Hills super electrocuted in courtyard

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A 30-year old Croatian immigrant was killed in Forest Hills last week when he was electrocuted while cleaning out a fountain in the courtyard of the building he worked and lived in.

Mirsad Balic, who was promoted to superintendent of the Andrew Jackson apartment building at 68-64 Yellowstone Blvd. in July after serving as an assistant for a year, was trying to clear water out of the fountain with an electric snake shortly after 11 a.m. when he was hit with a deadly surge of electricity, residents said.

“He was electrocuted after frayed wire came into contact with water,” said Detective Carolyn Chew, a spokeswoman for the Police Department.

Balic was rushed to North Shore University Hospital after the accident, where he was pronounced dead after efforts to revive him failed.

According to a resident of the building who declined to give his name, the son of the building’s porter was also injured in the accident.

Balic’s deadly mistake was to wade into the water without wearing rubber boots, according to a representative of the building’s management who chose not to identify himself.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is currently looking into the circumstances surrounding Balic’s death.

“We received a report about a fatality and are currently doing an investigat­ion,” said Maureen Fradkin, assistant area director of OSHA’s Bayside office.

Longtime resident Elinor Sacks said management passed a note under residents’ doors explaining the tragedy.

“He went into the water without anything on his feet,” said Sacks, who has lived in the building for nearly 50 years. “It’s a very sad thing.”

Affectionately know as Mickey to residents of the Andrew Jackson apartments, Balic made a name for himself in the short time he ran the building.

“We had a super for 30 years, but Mickey was more helpful in the short time he was here,” said another resident, who did not identify herself. “If you were carrying bags, he would run up to help you. He did more than just his job.”

A long time resident said, “I can only tell you he was a wonderful young man.”

Jeff Slade, who has lived in the building for two years, said Balic helped him install an air conditioner the day before the accident.

“He was always giving,” said Slade “He never took the easy way out.”

Slade’s wife had just come home with their second child. His older son had gotten to know Balic well over the past year.

“I’m sad the baby won’t get to know Mickey,” he said. “I’m still in shock. It’s sad to think he’s not going to be here anymore.”

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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