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Tampa Apartment Gate Falls on Little Girl, Killing Her

Posted on April 17, 2012

Tragedy struck in Tampa when a heavy metal gate at the entrance of the Brookside Apartments fell on a 7-year-old-girl who was on her way to school, killing her.

Tampa police are still investigating why the second-grader — a student at Riverhills Elementary School — was killed. Police told The Tampa Tribune that the gate, which slid on rails as opposed to swinging on hinges, was not electronically operated and was manually opened and closed by the residents.

Detectives said the gate hadn’t been working on the day of the premises liability accident in Tampa and they were investigating whether it had been taken off its tracks or had been leaning on another part of the fence before the incident.

According to investigators, the little girl had started the morning out at one of the Brookside units that was about two blocks away. The girl then walked to the front gate with classmates. Tampa police are still not sure if she or a classmate pulled on the gate before it fell.

The gate had been lifted off the student before emergency responders arrived. She was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Premises Liability Law

Under Florida law, property owners have a responsibility to ensure that safety hazards on their land do not cause harm to guests — or to a resident, in this case. Except in cases of trespassing, property owners are liable for injuries that result due to preventable hazards on their premises.

The Tampa personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah extend sincere condolences to the family of the girl who died in this terrible tragedy. If negligence by a property owner has resulted in injury or death, they must be held accountable. If a loved one has been a victim of a property owner’s oversight, call us at (800) 533-3555 to discuss your legal options.