There was a Monday in July when Rochester residents went about their days to a tragic story. A three-year-old boy died at a Tim Hortons restaurant downtown. If you’ve spent any time in downtown Rochester, you know exactly where that Tim Horton’s store is, it’s the one in front of the Price-Rite that seems like it’s just in the way. The toddler’s mother had taken the kid to work with her. Police were called at 10:56 a.m. on July 15 about a missing child. He was found a few minutes later, having fallen into a poorly-guarded grease trap outside. From all accounts, it was a harrowing event. According to the Democrat and Chronicle:
Witnesses removed the child from the grease trap and administered CPR until first responders arrived. Employees were seen crying outside and consoling each other after the child was taken away by ambulance.
Today, it was reported that Monroe County had swept 2,500 businesses in the area for grease trap safety checks. Four were found not to have been covered properly, and the county worked with those businesses to remediate those problems. The county currently has no regulations regarding these gizmos, but new legislation has been forwarded at the county level. A public hearing will be held to talk about that proposal on September 10 at the Monroe County Legislature at 6:45 p.m.
In July 2019, the public of Monroe County was alerted to a deadly problem in a startling way. The government acted immediately and swiftly, eliciting the cooperation of two thousand five hundred businesses in a month and is already acting to ensure this emergency action is not merely singular, to ensure that going forward, this previously overlooked problem will not recur, and that another Tenitia Cullum will not have to lose another child to an uncovered grease trap in Monroe County again.
I cannot imagine the “free-market” solution that would have acted so swiftly and so decisively in reaction to this shocking tragedy. And yet, there are some who would think that our government overreached and that, somehow, supply and demand would have done a much better job.
Kudos to our Republican County Manager for her bold leadership and for grabbing the government reigns to quickly address this issue. Perhaps free-market solutions can wait around for another urgent matter to address.