5-Year-Old Girl Falls Into Grease Trap At Tulsa Restaurant
TULSA, Oklahoma - A father is breathing a sigh of relief after his daughter fell into a grease trap at the Tulsa Hills Panera Bread.
His quick thinking may have saved her life.
It's a parent's worst nightmare. The father turned around, and his little girl was gone.
Panera said the company that services the grease traps was just there Monday and crews didn't screw the lids back on.
"I was almost to the door … then I heard a thud. The lid went back on top of it," said Parent James Rodgers.
In a matter of seconds, Rodgers’ five-year-old was trapped.
"I didn't know what to expect, and I flipped the lid back … all I could see was the top of her head and her bow kind of bobbing there,” said Rodgers.
"I didn't know what to think. I was like I don't want to die," said Rodgers’ daughter.
"I was able to reach down far enough to grab her by the arm and somehow, somehow, got her out," said Rodgers.
"I was like, I'm glad I'm saved," his daughter said.
Panera Bread said its grease traps are inspected and serviced every three to four months.
Most recently, just three days before Bristol Rodgers fell in.
"There are three different screws on the top that have to be secured, and from what we found, they were just set on there," said Panera Community Relations Manager Erin Barnhart.
Brooks Grease Services admits the crew didn't screw the lid back in on Monday.
It claims these plastic lids are flimsy and less safe than metal covers that are more commonly used.
“There's no excuses … you better make sure that you secure those before you leave,” said Rodgers.
Rodgers filed a report with the Health Department. Food Protection Services said it will investigate and so is Panera.
"Because they service so many cafes in the area, we are internally performing an inspection of all of the grease trap lids to ensure the safety of our guests," said Barnhart.
"I don't want this to happen to another little kid … I know it's a freak accident and all of that, but it happened," Rodgers said.
The Division Chief of Food Protection Services said in her 34 years on the job, she's never heard of someone falling into a grease trap.
Brooks Grease Service said it serves 14,000 customers in 9 states and it hasn't dealt with this type of accident either.