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News10NBC Investigates: Another child falls into grease trap, saved by mother: ‘It happened again’

Berkeley Brean
Updated: November 18, 2019 06:21 PM
Created: November 18, 2019 06:12 PM

(WHEC) — Another child fell into a grease trap outside a restaurant. This one happened last week in West Virginia. The 4-year-old girl survived.

But News10NBC found there is something very similar to the tragedy we saw in Rochester this summer.

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The lids to the grease trap here and in West Virginia are almost, if not, totally identical. Rochester police reports and reports from our affiliate in Charleston, WV, say both were loose and flipped open when a child stepped on them. 

The incident in Charleston, WV happened on Monday, Nov. 11 outside a restaurant. The video from WSAZ shows the lid to the grease trap is round, green with distinct handles on the side. 

"So this is a Polylock, 24 inch, riser cover," Lori Robb Monaghan said displaying the grease trap lid she has inside her law office in downtown Rochester. 

She ordered it based on the make and model information in RPD reports. 

Robb Monaghan says it is the same make and model lid that was on top of the grease trap behind the Tim Hortons on University Avenue last July. Robb Monaghan is the lawyer for the mother of Bryce Raynor, the little boy who fell into the trap behind the Tim Hortons and drowned. 

Robb Monaghan compared the lid she has to the one in West Virginia. 

"I believe it's the exact same lid," Robb Monaghan said. "It makes me wonder or not if these things are ever screwed in or ever secured or simply just placed on top."

In October, Senator Chuck Schumer was with Bryce's mother and said he asked OSHA—the federal workplace safety agency—to tighten its regulations on grease trap lids and require a plastic grate at the top. 

So far, no changes. 

The senator was in town today and we asked him if he's getting pushback from OSHA.  

"We sent them the information already. So yeah, we're in constant touch with them now. And it has gotten their attention. So I hope we're going to get some real answers quickly, " Senator Schumer said. "Our problem here is inertia as opposed to push back"

So I contacted the federal Department of Labor. 

In an email, it said, "the Department is aware of the request and declines to comment."

Rochester Police reports say Bryce Raynor fell into the grease trap just as his mother looked away to throw out garbage at the Tim Hortons where she worked. 

In West Virginia, the little girl's mother was watching her when she fell in. 

Lori Robb Monaghan, attorney: "This mother happened to be standing there and watched the lid, I think she described it as flipping open like a teeter totter and popping right back into place."

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "Could you imagine if she did not see her daughter go in there?"

Robb Monaghan: "No, I don't think she would have known where to look for her. I think she would have been in the same curious and panicked position that Bryce's mother was in that day. Where did my child go? She was just right here."

According to reports from West Virginia, the little girl's mother pulled her from the grease trap and saved her life. 

News10NBC is still waiting for police in Charleston to tell us if they're investigating.

In the summer, Monroe County inspected 2,500 grease traps and found four were unsecured. The county says they've been fixed. 

Lori Robb Monaghan says she is still preparing a lawsuit against the city, the county and, in her words, maybe others. 


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