Grease traps are designed to separate out the fats, oils and greases and solids typically found in food preparation waste.
Wyatt Scharenbroch, 3, fell into a Denny’s restaurant grease pit located outside the restaurant in Grand Chute, WI. Firefighters were called to rescue the boy who they said fell through an unsecured plastic cover over the trap. Before the firefighters arrived, the boy’s parents had already rescued him from the pit, said USA Today (1.28.15).
The ground-level cold grease trap was five feet deep and filled with four feet of grease at the time of the accident. Firefighters said the cover on the grease pit should have been secured with screws. Following the incident, they secured it, as well as the covers on other nearby grease pits, to prevent another accident.
Denny’s management is investigating why the lid wasn’t screwed down as it should have been, reported USA Today.
Wyatt was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment to see what he had swallowed and whether anything had entered his lungs.
According to USA Today, the grease pit is usually emptied every four to six weeks.
There have been a number of lawsuits initiated by people who were injured by falling into open holes. Plaintiffs may allege that they have endured injuries and lost income because of these types of accidents. The defendant is the owner or legal holder of the property on which the accident occurred.
In the case of the boy falling into the grease pit at Denny’s, it appears that the restaurant failed in their responsibility to ensure the safety of its customers. Property and business owners on both public and private property have the responsibility to take reasonable precautions that will prevent harm to customers and anyone else on their premises. Ensuring a safe environment is a large part of being responsible for a property.
The USA Today article cited is “Mother feared losing her son in restaurant grease pit.”