Death of Girl at Rita's Water Ice: Is Anyone to Blame?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Officials are investigating whether anyone is to blame for the tragic death of a young girl outside a Rita's Water Ice. NBC10's Harry Hairston has the details.

    A growing memorial is being built for 3-year-old Wynter Larkin outside a Rita's Water Ice in Philadelphia. The young girl was killed on Saturday after a 2,000-pound security gate came crashing down on her.

    As the girl's loved ones continue to mourn her death, officials are trying to determine the cause, and whether anyone is at fault. A team from the Department of Licenses and Inspections checked every awning and security door at Rita's on Monday.

    "We did a little bit of a block survey just to take a look at the rest of them," said L&I official Scott Muldering.

    Rita's Water Ice

    [PHI] Rita's Water Ice
    Rita's Water Ice was the location of tragedy this weekend. A small child was killed outside the establishment.

    Part of the investigation involves determining whether the door was securely fastened to the building. The owner of Fast Door, a company that installs security doors, told NBC10 that building owners should get their doors inspected at least once a year by the installer. He also says the fact that the Rita's Water Ice had bolts in its door was risky, given that trolley cars can run up and down the street.

    Maintenance, care and inspections of roll down security gates are the responsibility of the property owner, according to City of Philadelphia property codes.

    Property records list P&G Development as the owner. Attempts to reach P&G were unsuccessful.

    L&I officials say they inspect these gates if they receive complaints of apparent defects. There are no open violations, and there is no violation history related to the gate, according to L&I.

    Philadelphia Police told NBC10 it's too early to determine if anyone will be criminally charged.

    "Whatever we come across in terms of the investigative piece of it we will turn that over to the District Attorney's Office," said Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford.

    Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham told NBC10 that in order for any charges to be filed, investigators would have to determine that whoever placed the door outside the building had some awareness that it could fall.

    Rita's Italian Ice, the shop's parent company, released a statement about the crash.

    "Our hearts and prayers go out to the child's family," said Rita's spokeswoman Linda Duke. "Due to the current investigation we really cannot comment about the unfortunate incident."