ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinlolfo signed new legislation Tuesday designed to increase grease trap safety and regulations.
The law, known as “Bryce’s Law” is named for the 3-year-old boy, Bryce Raynor, who died in July after falling into a grease trap behind the Tim Hortons on University Avenue in Rochester.
The law applies to all food service establishments in Monroe County and requires grease traps to have a locking mechanism, as well as lids able to withstand more weight should someone accidentally step on top of them.
The law also authorizes the Monroe County Department of Health to conduct annual inspections to make sure grease traps are in compliance with the local law. The law also lays out size and strength requirements for grease traps.
This law takes effect immediately.
According to Dinolfo’s office, Monroe County recently completed safety sweeps at nearly 2,500 local businesses to assess the security of local grease trap covers.
In total, a team of county inspectors performed safety assessments at 2,492 establishments. Over 530 establishments were identified as having external grease traps on the premises. Of the total number of inspections, four deficiencies were identified relating to the security of grease trap covers
Meanwhile, Bryce’s mother, Tinitia Cullum, has filed a notice of claim, with intentions to sue Monroe County and the City of Rochester for negligence by the county and city for failure to maintain, inspect, or control grease traps, as well as a wrongful death claim. The claim also lists conscious pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
“The City of Rochester and County of Monroe were negligent in that it allowed and permitted the lightweight and unsecured cover to exist on the grease trap and failed to inspect, maintain, control, secure or remove the plastic lid on the grease trap or to place any safeguard of any kind to prevent injury,” the filing states.
Cullum is seeking to recover damages, according to the filing.
A county spokesperson said “As a matter of policy, the County declines all comment related to pending or potential litigation.”
In late July, Cullum hired an attorney, Lori Robb Monaghan, to see who, if anyone, was responsible in her son’s death.
A plastic and unsecured lid covered the grease trap where tragedy struck. Police say the toddler likely stepped on the lid, opening it up and trapping him below.
The tragedy triggered lawmakers to submit legislation regarding grease traps and new laws are calling for stronger materials, more secured lids, and annual inspections.
In August, Monroe County officials began inspecting grease traps throughout the region, and found four grease trap covers not secured during the safety sweep.
The day after the boy died, police announced no charges would be filed against the mother in connection to the incident. Cullum was a Tim Hortons employee, and said it wasn’t the first time she had brought Bryce to work with her.