Company That Sold Gate That Killed Girl Under Scrutiny

New details continue to emerge on the company that sold the security gate that crushed a young girl to death at a Rita’s Water Ice last month.

On June 28 a one-ton security gate at the Rita’s Water Ice in Brewerytown suddenly gave way and fell on top of 3-year-old Wynter Larkin, crushing her to death.

Three weeks after the tragedy, NBC10 has learned that city inspectors found problems with another security gate in the same neighborhood sold by the same company, Day or Night Door Service in Gloucester City, New Jersey.

David Woods, the owner of Day or Night, sold the security gate to Rita’s Water Ice six years ago, according to his wife. Woods however, is unable to speak due to a violent incident earlier this year. Last February a man beat woods with a hammer while robbing him in West Philadelphia. Police say he was hit so hard he lost his speech.

While L&I isn’t responsible for inspecting the gates, officials told NBC10 they checked more than half a dozen security gates Woods sold to businesses on West Girard Avenue. L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams says they found a loose bolt on one of those gates and issued the business owner a violation. Officials have not yet confirmed however whether or not Woods’ company installed that gate.

Some Brewerytown officials believe L&I should check more than just the gates sold by Woods.

“All of these buildings around here are old,” said Valerie Graham. “They need to come and check every one of them.”

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 continue to investigate the Rita’s Water Ice accident. No charges have been filed at this time.

"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.

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