Girl’s fall into grease pit prompts WVa bill to hike fines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — After a 5-year-old girl fell into a restaurant grease pit and was rescued, West Virginia’s Senate has passed legislation that would toughen fines for restaurants that have unsecured lids on the containers.

The state Senate passed the bill Tuesday, 33-0. One member was absent. It now goes to the House of Delegates.

The legislation would increase fines from $5 to $50 for each day that a restaurant fails to comply.

Kambria Cvechko was leaving her birthday celebration at a Charleston restaurant in November when she fell into an outdoor grease pit with an unsecured plastic lid. Her mother, Kara, immediately went headfirst into the pit to pull her out. Kara Cvechko said her daughter was submerged in the grease.

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It was at least the fourth such incident nationwide in two years. A 3-year-old girl drowned in 2017 after falling into a grease pit in Auburn, Alabama, and a 3-year-old boy died last July in Rochester, New York.

These pits can hold hundreds of gallons and are designed to keep used oil and grease out of sewer systems.

Kara Cvechko said Tuesday she wants every state to pass laws ensuring that grease traps are secure.

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