The news of a three-year-old boy who fell into a grease trap and died captured the attention of local and national news outlets. The tragic story involves a little boy running across a plastic manhole-sized lid in a grassy area adjacent to a Tim Hortons restaurant located in Rochester, New York. The lid cracked and broke under the child’s weight. Despite determining that the boy had fallen in the grease trap within a few minutes of the incident, the boy drowned.
Tim Hortons provided CNN with the following statement:
"What occurred today was a tragedy and on behalf of the Tim Hortons family, we offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young boy who passed away. Tim Hortons is fully cooperating with authorities. As there is an ongoing police investigation, we have no further comment at this time."
The police have not charged anyone, but the city has already put a concrete barrier around the opening and the metal lid now replaces the broken plastic one.
Not an isolated event
This recent death was not the first such incident. In 2017, a three-year-old girl died when she fell into a six-foot-deep grease trap at an Alabama ice cream shop while on a family outing. That grease pit also had an unsecured lid.
These incidents have been ruled as an accidental drowning, but it is crucial that victims or parents of victims hold owners of a public business accountable. These businesses have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for customers. Those with questions about an injury that happened at a business can speak with a personal injury attorney with experience handling cases where premises liability is an issue.