Tears and questions after 3-year-old dies in Tim Hortons grease trap

July 15, 2019 07:40 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- The death of a 3-year-old who had fallen into a grease trap at the University Avenue Tim Hortons is being described as an "unimaginable" tragedy.

Police say that the boy's mother had lost track of him for just a few moments, during which he fell into the trap, which is used to discard old cooking grease. When she realized she couldn't find him, she called 911. 


When first responders arrived, they found witnesses at the scene already trying to save the boy.

"He was being given CPR by a witness at the scene at the time of the officers arrival," said Investigator Frank Camp of the Rochester Police Department. 

Investigators say someone who had heard the mom's panicked screams for help was looking around when they discovered the boy inside the grease trap, which was just a few feet outside the back door. The trap was embedded in the ground covered by a plastic lid.

"The child apparently found his way outside [and] made his way on top of the grease trap," said Camp, "There's no wall or anything that he had to climb over- just flat, flush with the ground, and the lid give way and [he] went into the grease trap."

Investigators won't say at this time how long they believe the boy was in the trap, or how deep it was. 

"Obviously, this is something that's foreign to us," said Camp, "so we have to come [up] with some type of solution to safely measure the depth and volume of what the content of this thing is."

Many employees at the Tim Hortons were distraught by the events, and RPD officers were seen showing an incredible amount of compassion for them as they learned together that the boy didn't make it. 

"As you can imagine, no one ever wants to see anything like this," said Camp. 

"We're asked all the time what's the worst thing you've encountered as a police officer... and this is number one." 

Tim Hortons has released 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.”


Jennifer Lewke

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