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Escalator severs toddler's finger at Washington Square mall

Authorities discovered a faulty safety switch on an escalator at Washington Square mall, which severed a 2-year-old boy’s fingers last week, but say it likely had little to do with the accident.

In a report released last week by the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, inspectors said a safety switch was malfunctioning on Aug 20, when the toddler tried to climb up the down escalator at Washington Square mall.

The toddler was near the mall’s food court with his mother at about 5:55 p.m. when he attempted to run up the downward traveling escalator.

The boy fell, and his hand was caught where the steps travel underneath a large comb-toothed plate.

The boy’s mother attempted to free the child by lifting him, which severed two of the fingers on his left hand.

One finger was completely severed as was the tip of a second finger, according to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue officials.

The boy was taken to Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.

TVF&R crews disassembled the elevator and were able to recover one of the boy’s fingers.

A family member told the Times’ news parter KOIN 6 that the boy’s condition had improved, but said his fingers were unable to be reattached.

The escalator was taken out of service until a full investigation by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which oversees Oregon’s elevator safety program.

The escalator was last inspected in January as part of routine evaluations. No malfunctions were found at that time.

According to the report, inspectors found that a horizontal comb impact switch was not working at the time of the incident. The switch is one of three that monitors movement of the comb assembly.

The switch is supposed to cut power to the escalator when a force of 400-pounds-per-foot or less is detected in the comb assembly.

But inspectors said that had the switch been working properly, it likely would not have been able to prevent the accident from happening.

“Failure of this switch, while an important safety component of the device, did not contribute to this accident,” the report read. “Had power been removed from the escalator at the exact moment the child’s fingers were entrapped, the downward kinetic motion of the escalator would have provided sufficient movement.”

Washington Square Mall Senior Property Manager Thomas Randall issued the following statement: “We are heart broken about this evening’s accident. While we are unable to comment while this matter is under investigation, our thoughts are with the young child and his family.”



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