ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester police officials announced Tuesday afternoon that the mother of the child who died after falling into a grease trap was an employee at the University Avenue Tim Hortons.
Officials say the mother was working her shift at the time and had no one to watch her child, and added that no charges will be filed against her or any caregiver in connection to Monday’s incident.
“She was working her shift, and like most parents at one time or another, including myself, apparently had no one to watch her child,” RPD Investigator Frank Camp said in a press release. “This was a sad, terrible tragedy that happened in seconds.”
A large police presence responded around 11 a.m. Monday after the boy’s mother reported the child was missing. A witness who discovered the boy attempted to give him CPR at the scene. The boy was then transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Camp said Monday that there was no fencing, and that the grease trap was “flush with the ground.” Camp added Tuesday that RPD remained on scene at the location of the incident until the grease trap lid was replaced with one made of metal that would support and carry an unexpected weight.
The medical examiner’s office is continuing its investigation to determine an exact cause of death.
Meanwhile, the University Avenue Tim Hortons remains closed until further notice.
Grease traps are plumbing systems that must be located outside any building with the “capacity to serve group meals,” including restaurants, according to Monroe County code. The main component of a grease trap is a storage tank, designed to prevent fats, oils, and grease from pan-cleaning and food production out of the sanitary sewer systems.
The grease trap at the University Avenue Tim Hortons location is located in an open area in the back of the restaurant. Police say the lid to the grease trap’s tank was not only made of plastic, but was left unsecured over the 2-3 feet diameter of the trap. They say the boy must have stepped on the unsecured lid, causing it to open up, and trap him below.