AUBURN - A 4-year-old Dudley boy was in critical condition yesterday after falling from an escalator at Sears Friday night.
The boy was on an escalator on the second floor in the Sears Department Store at the Auburn Mall at about 6:30 p.m. when the accident occurred. The boy, who was with his mother, reportedly grabbed the moving railing of the escalator with both hands and was pulled off the escalator and through a 6-inch gap between the escalator and a plastic barrier, according to Police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis. The boy fell onto a store display case on the first floor and suffered a serious head injury.
An Auburn Fire Department ambulance took him to UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus in Worcester, where he was to undergo surgery, police said Friday.
Yesterday, Chief Sluckis said the boy was in critical condition. The boy's name has not been released.
Auburn police Detective Daniel Lamoreaux and state police Trooper Keith Egan, who is assigned to the office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., are investigating.
Sears was closed for part of yesterday, and when it opened in the early afternoon a set of escalators remained closed. The state Department of Public Safety's Board of Elevator Regulations regulates elevators, escalators and similar devices, and a state elevator inspector was at the store, as was Auburn Code Enforcement Officer Donald B. Miller. A representative from an elevator company was also at the scene.
The state has a tip sheet on escalator safety for parents, and its recommendations include holding onto the handrail and holding the hand of young children. It also advises people to know where the emergency stop buttons are at the top and bottom of the escalator, keep away from the sides of escalators, not sit on a moving escalator, not play on the escalator, step on and off escalators quickly and carefully, face forward and not bring strollers, carts or large packages on escalators.