PHILADELPHIA – A metal security gate detached from the facade of an Italian ice shop Saturday afternoon, killing a 3-year-old girl, police said.
The security door fell on the child at a Rita’s Water Ice store in north Philadelphia at around 4:30 p.m., according to the Philadelphia Police Department. The girl was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital and died after arrival.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the child’s family,” said Linda Duke, a spokeswoman for Rita’s Italian Ice, the shop’s parent company. “Due to the current investigation we really cannot comment about the unfortunate incident.”
Photos from the scene show the black metal gate lying on the sidewalk, pink balloons still tied to it in front of the shop’s red and white striped awning. Several popped balloons appear trapped underneath the gate, which businesses typically roll down after hours to prevent crime.
The child was there with her mother, according to WPVI-TV, and bystanders rushed to her aid while others gave CPR. Witnesses told the TV station a sorority and fraternity fundraiser was happening at the time.
“The gentlemen from Omega Psi Phi were holding the awning up and the little girl was on the ground and they were trying to resuscitate her,” witness Kealy Dangerfield Enlow told the TV station.
Alison Brady, who lives across the street and saw the gate fall, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that stucco work had recently been done on the shop.
“It was almost like slow motion,” she told the newspaper. “The gate was falling and people were screaming and it hit the ground and the little girl was there.”
Officials with the Department of Licenses and Inspections were investigating.
The department told WCAU-TV that there were no open violations at the store and no reported problems with the gate. L&I said that they only inspect security gates if they receive a complaint.