The city of Lewiston, Idaho has decided to pay the medical bills for children from two families who suffered chemical burns last month at Pioneer Park when city employees neglected to supervise toxic paint stripper that was applied to graffiti.
According to police reports and tort claims filed by Katie Giolitti and Jennifer Kaufman the incident happened near the drinking fountain at the Pioneer Park restrooms. Kaufman and her husband, Joe Kaufman (the city's storm water engineer), had brought their children and Giolitti's children to the park for a play date when the children needed to use the restroom.
While Kaufman was helping another child get a drink in the fountain, one of her 1-year-old twin daughters slipped and fell in the paint stripper, coating her upper leg with the chemical. The Giolittis' 6-year-old daughter also stepped in the chemical and began to complain that her foot burned. "There was a soapy substance on the cement near the water fountain with an A-frame type sign over it," Kaufman wrote in her claim. "There was nothing indicating it was a hazardous substance."
Kaufman scooped up her daughter and led the other child to the nearby fountain to rinse them off while someone called 911. She realized that the skin on her arm also was burning from coming into contact with the paint stripper while carrying her daughter.
She said the insurance company indicated that her claim was initially denied because city parks are "at your own risk" facilities, but she rejected that reasoning because caustic substances aren't something a reasonable person would expect to be present at a city park. City Manager Jim Bennett said "I determined that in this instance, it was the best action the city could take to pay the medical expenses for these families."
Parks and Recreation Director Tim Barker said the seasonal employees involved in the incident had tried other methods of removing the graffiti before resorting to the powerful paint stripper. They applied a thick layer to the concrete, placed the sandwich-style barricade over it, and were instructed to supervise the site, he said. But the employees left to clean nearby parks department vehicles, according to the incident report. For full article follow link http://lmtribune.com/northwest/city-to-foot-bills-for-children-s-chemical-burns/article_010168bc-dddc-5f80-9974-2eebf8d45893.html
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