- Three-year-old fell into grease pit at rear of ice cream shop
- Coroner: The lid of the grease pit was not secure
The little girl was enjoying ice cream at a Bruster's in Auburn with her parents and five siblings when she stepped on the unsecured lid of a grease pit behind the shop and fell inside, Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told CNN.
"Video from the store showed she stepped on the lid, it flipped up, she slid in, and the lid landed upside down back onto the sludge pit," Harris said. Her dad turned his head for a second and when he turned back, she was gone, the coroner said.
"Immediately when they didn't see her playing, the family called police to say she was missing and by the time police got there, her family had already found her and started CPR," Harris said. "She was only missing about 5 to 10 minutes but by the time her dad found her in the pit, she was unresponsive. She died in the emergency room at the hospital, Harris said.
The grease pit is approximately 2 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep, Harris told CNN. "In my 30 years of working in the coroner's office, I have never seen anything like this before," said Harris.
The child's death was ruled an accidental drowning. The coroner did not release the child's identity to CNN.
CNN has reached out to Bruster's Real Ice Cream corporate office for comment. The owners of the Auburn store wrote on Facebook they were familiar with the family and said they are "truly heartbroken that this happened".