ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A sign at the Tim Hortons at the corner of University Avenue and Culver Road in Rochester says “We will be closed until further notice. We do apologize for any inconvenience.”
That shop is where a 3-year-old died Monday after falling into a grease trap outside of the building.
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.
“It’s a horrible, tragic accident,” said investigator Frank Camp, Rochester Police Department.
Camp said there was no fencing, and that the grease trap was “flush with the ground.” Officials say they are awaiting word from the medical examiner’s office to determine a cause of death.
Tim Hortons officials released a statement Monday regarding the incident:
“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.“
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.