By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, the Senate Health Committee voted to give a favorable report to legislation requiring restaurants and other commercial food service establishments to securely cover their grease traps to prevent unauthorized access. Senate Bill 258 today is sponsored by state Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn.
Sadly, this legislation was introduced in response to the tragic death of three-year-old Sadie Grace Andrews. In Oct. 2017, Sadie drowned in a 6-foot deep grease trap outside of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream on East University Drive in Auburn.
That day, Sadie was with her father, Tracy Andrews. Mr. Andrews told the committee that he looked away for a moment and the child had disappeared. He began searching. Andrews thought that Sadie had been abducted when he became aware of the grease trap. What apparently happened is that the child walked across a simple plastic cover on top of the grease trap and fell through. The cover fell back in place. By the time Mr. Andrews found little Sadie, she was dead.
After the tragic, accidental death at the ice cream parlor, Whatley promised to work with Sadie’s family to find a way to prevent further accidents.
“It’s always a tragedy when a life is lost due to an oversight. It’s even more tragic when that life is a child’s,” Whatley said. “This legislation will ensure nothing like this happens again.”
Andrews said he was “unaware that something so dangerous even existed. I hope this law will help bring awareness to this issue and that it would prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
Whatley said that he is pro-business; but he is bringing this because it is a public safety issue.
The committee unanimously gave a favorable report to the bill, which defines how a commercial grease trap must be secured.
Senate Bill 258 now can be taken up on the floor of the Alabama Senate.