By Steve Patterson, Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 3-year-old girl was killed when a rolling steel security door fell on her on Saturday afternoon.
Eyewitnesses say they heard a loud crash, and then saw a large security door on top of the little girl, who has been identified as Wynter Larkin .
The child was standing outside of a Rita’s Water Ice store in Brewerytown around 4:30pm, on the 2800 block of Girard Avenue.
Police say the steel security door suddenly detached and landed directly on the young girl.
“We saw the awning land on the ground, but we didn’t realize there was a baby under the awning until the mother started screaming,” said Tracey Stanford, an eyewitness. “We heard a boom, and all you could hear was yelling and screaming.”
The accident happened during an annual fundraiser for two fraternities. Eyewitnesses say the frat brothers immediately went to help get the child out from under the door.
“It took about twenty to thirty men to get that awning off of the baby,” Stanford said. “When they finally got it up off of her, she was just laying there, lifeless.”
The 3-year-old girl was immediately taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, but a half hour later, she was pronounced dead.
Investigators were on scene for hours after the accident, trying to determine why the door detached.
“I was in tears,” said an eyewitness.
Rita’s Italian Ice, the parent company of that Rita’s store, released a statement, saying, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the child’s family. Due to the current investigation, we really cannot comment on that unfortunate incident.”
On Sunday, L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams issued the following statement:
“Maintenance, care and inspections of roll down security gates are the responsibility of the property owner under the City of Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code. The Department of Licenses and Inspections will only inspect these gates upon report of a complaint of an apparent defect. There were no open violations nor any violation history specific to the security gate that collapsed.”
The property owner has also been identified as P&G Development. The owner could not be reached for comment.
Police continue to investigate, reviewing surveillance video and interviewing eyewitnesses, as they search for why this tragedy happened.