AUBURN (CBS) – Two state inspectors were suspended Monday after a 4-year-old was killed in an escalator accident at the Auburn Mall Sears store, said a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety.

Mark DiBona, the son of Eric and Laura DiBona of Dudley, fell two stories on Friday after slipping through a 6-inch gap between the escalator and a plastic barrier.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

The DPS says a barricade that should have been in place between the side of the escalator and the wall was missing.

The DPS says the inspectors were previously in charge of inspecting the unit, but failed to properly do so.

WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports.

“There is no reason to believe that this is a systemic problem. However, I will be directing the remaining 49 inspectors to re-inspect all units that had been inspected by these two individuals,” said Commissioner Thomas Gatzunis.

Comments (20)
  1. George Fiffy II says:

    Makes me glad I happened to record the escalators here, because this gross error in inspection, caught in the video, can help prevent another needless tragedy like this one.
    Hope the Parents and family sue these 2 blind.

  2. judy wasserman says:

    your promo, ‘escalator death fallout’—poor choice of words!

    1. George Fiffy II says:

      I think that was likely unintentional.

  3. former employee says:

    As a former employee of this Sears, I was present when thiis was inspected and question the space at the top and was told by these inspectors that the space was within code. So sorry for this family, a tradegy that could have been prevented.

    1. realist says:

      It also could have been prevented if an adult was supervising the child. A child ‘falling’ through a 6.25 inch gap doesn’t just happen – especially not if an adult is holding his hand. To fit through a gap that size even a 4 year old had a few minutes to poke his head through and lose his balance. Such a tragedy as there were two prevention mechanisms in place and both failed.

      1. emily says:

        I know someone who saw it happen and the kid was holding the moving railing while he was on the gap side of the escalator, it pulled him through. it was a freak accident, not the adult’s fault.

  4. Mary Gill says:

    The tragedy could have been prevented if the adult supervising a 4 year old was holding his hand getting on the escalator. I am amazed at how many people at the malls, airports, etc. have small children more than 10 feet away from them. They are children and rely on adults to protect them.

    1. massman says:

      To insinuate that the parents be held accountable in any way, shape or form is insulting.

      1. stevebnh says:

        That’s a big part of the problem here.

        Nobody is responsible for their own actions – or lack of.

        Where were they when their child was squirming his way through a 6″ gap ?

        Were they watching ? maybe filming with their smart phone, commentiung how cute he is when he sets his mind on something ?

        They should have been there for him – with his hand in theirs !

      2. guest says:

        Get a grip… if the parents were paying attention to the child, they child would still be alive today.

    2. Monique says:

      it was reported that they WERE holding him. He grabbed the motionbelt railing as he approached, and it yanked him on the WRONG SIDE of the escalator wall, pulling him THROUGH the unsheilded opening. Horrific of you to assume the parent wasn’t holding his hand. He was pulled from their clasped hands.

    3. May says:

      Exactly. I work in a Sears store, and I’m constantly reminding small children not to play on the escalator. The supervising adult is rarely even in sight.

  5. Mel says:

    Are any of you who are making derogatory remarks parenst yourselves? If you say you have never had a split second of fear you are lying. Accidents happen all the time in a split second. These parents are greiving the most horrible tragedy of their lives. Do you think they need to read these comments? Shame on you. Discusting.

  6. Spanky says:

    As an escalator mechanic I frequently see children left to play on escalators, as if they are there to occupy the kids while parents shop. At least once a week I get a scolding glare from a mommy after I shoo their child from an escalator. I’ve even been reprimanded for essentially trying to prevent the type of accident that happened here.
    This is an unfortunate accident that may have been preventable by everyone involved, including the victim and his family. Now a lot of people are going to overreact causing other people to get fired and other people to be sued.

  7. elevatorguy1970 says:

    Amen, Spanky

  8. oledude468 says:

    Where were the parents? How many time have you been to a department store and seen children rtunning wild? These are places of businees not play grounds, dont blame the stores keep the parents accountable

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