State Report: Toddler severed two fingers in escalator accident

State Report: Toddler severed two fingers in escalator accident »Play Video
The escalator at the Washington Square Mall was shut down Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, while inspectors worked to piece together how a toddler had two of his fingers severed by it the night before.

TIGARD, Ore. -- A 2-year-old boy is recovering at the hospital after two of his fingers were severed by an escalator at the Washington Square Mall, according to a new accident report uncovered by the On Your Side Investigators.

According to the state report, the child attempted to run up the down escalator near the mall food court around 6 p.m. Wednesday, when he fell, and got his fingers caught in grated steps. When his mother pulled him up to free his hand from the escalator, that resulted "in the severance of his two middle fingers."

The report also states that the child was unattended. A witness at the mall - who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her job - said the child was only alone for a brief moment before he began screaming. That's when the witness said two women rushed over to pick the boy up and then described a chaotic and gruesome scene.

The witness said one of the boy's fingers was "hanging off" and "there was blood everywhere."

Mall security gave the boy first aid until paramedics with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) arrived. The boy was taken to Randall Children's Hospital.

The severed fingers were recovered, according to the report, but it's unknown if doctors were able to reattach them.

The On Your Side Investigators contacted the family but the boy's grandmother said they were not ready to comment.

Washington Square Mall senior property manager, Thomas Randall, declined to speak on camera but sent KATU an email statement Thursday:

"The safety of our shoppers and retailers is a top priority of ours. ThyssenKrupp, the company that maintains and services our escalators, along with the State of Oregon's inspector, are conducting a thorough investigation of the escalator where the accident occurred. I am unable to comment further at this time."

The escalator was taken out of service until the elevator maintenance company and the state Department of Consumer and Business Services inspected it.

"Once we are finished with our work, the owner may or may not return the escalator to service, depending on their operational needs and any limitations or conditions we apply, if any, after our inspection is completed," said Mark Long, administrator for the Building Codes Division in the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. That's the division that inspects elevators and escalators in Oregon.

Long said results of the state's inspection would be provided Friday afternoon. 

KATU looked into state accident records on the escalator involved but only found one other accident report dating back to 2012 where someone sprained an ankle. The report provides few details.

The On Your Side Investigators also highlighted last fall how dangerous escalators can be, especially for children. In that report, we found nearly 50 accidents on escalators at malls around the area in a three-year time period. During that investigation, we found most accidents happened at Lloyd Center Mall; but five (including this week's incident) occurred at Washington Square Mall.