Mother in grease trap tragedy hires lawyer

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monday marks two weeks since 3-year-old Bryce Raynor lost his life after falling into a grease trap at the Tim Hortons on University Avenue in Rochester.

Tenetia Cullum, the mother of the boy, has hired a lawyer, Lori Robb Monaghan, who is looking to see who, if anyone, is responsible.

“If we get the information together, we take a look, and we can’t come to an amicable resolution, then the lawsuit will follow,” said Robb Monaghan. “I just don’t know yet. We’re trying to get some questions answered.”

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.

“They [the family] are having a hard time getting their head around the fact that a plastic lid was on a hazard like this, and this happened to this boy as a result of it,” said Robb Monaghan.

The tragedy triggered lawmakers to submit legislation regarding grease traps and new laws are calling for stronger materials, more secured lids, and annual inspections.

“Taking the gray area out of that and holding somebody responsible for making sure the public is safe, and that these hazards are properly secured is a very good thing,” Robb Monaghan said.

Although local legislators have proposed new legislation, currently there are no laws in Monroe County or the state regulating grease traps, which has Cullum, her family, and her lawyer wondering how this incident could have been avoided.

“How this device existed that day — if it was appropriate or if it was faulty, and if it was faulty, then whose fault was it?” Robb Monaghan said.

Robb Monaghan says she just started the process of requesting and reviewing the reports involving the tragedy. She says she doesn’t have a time frame of when or if a lawsuit will ultimately be filed and says that decision will be made once the review process is complete.

The day after the boy died, police announced no charges would be filed against the mother in connection to the incident.

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