Articles Posted in Stairwell Accidents

State officials are ordering a statewide investigation of escalators, after 4-year-old Mark DiBona fell two stories down an escalator in a Sears store at the Auburn Mall on Friday. The Dudley boy landed on a store display and sustained serious injuries during the Massachusetts escalator accident. He died the following day.

Earlier this week, two inspectors were suspended because they did not block off a gap at the top of the escalator. Although the gap should have only been 4 inches wide, it was 6 ¼ inches. A barricade should have been placed between the wall and the side of the escalator to restrict the opening’s size. All escalators that the two inspectors checked will be looked at again.

There are about 975 escalators in the state. Each one is inspected annually.

A judge has awarded the family of Jacob Freeman $6.8 million in Boston wrongful death damages. Freeman, a Northeastern University Student, died nearly four years ago after falling down a flight of stairs at Our House East, a Boston bar on Gainsborough Street.

In her Boston premises liability ruling, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey noted that even though Freeman’s BAC was .208 when he fell down the stairs going to the basement in the early hours of April 1, 2007, the staircase was poorly lit, lacked a landing, possessed inadequate railings, and was hazardous in other ways. She also notes that vinyl stripes likely made it hard for Freeman to see that there was a staircase there.

Fahey says that she ordered Gainsboro Restaurant Inc. to pay damages on the grounds that not only did the bar ignore the safety hazards that the stairs presented-no repairs were made following two previous incidents of people falling there-but also for decades the bar had been violating the city’s permitting process, including never getting the permit required to run a bar.

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