3-Year-Old Dies After Drowning in Grease Pit Behind an Ice Cream Shop

toddler drowns in grease pit
Tracy and Corrie Andrews/YouCaring

We speak a lot about unknown dangers, whether they involve toys that could have fatal consequences for children or hospital policies that threaten mothers' rights. Unfortunately, we aren't always able to warn others about these things until a tragedy occurs. A toddler's drowning death in a restaurant's grease pit has made us keenly aware of yet another danger.


The 3-year-old girl, identified by AL.com as Sadie Grace Andrews, was out with her parents and five siblings at around 1 p.m. on Saturday. The family was enjoying ice cream at Bruster's in Auburn, Alabama, when her parents noticed her missing and called the police.

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According to officials, the little girl had been playing outside of the restaurant when she accidentally stepped on the unsecured lid of grease pit -- where restaurants dump waste from their grills and fryers -- and fell inside the six-foot-deep pit full of sludge and cooking oil.

little girl who died fell into grease pit
Tracy and Corrie Andrews/YouCaring

After searching for her for a few minutes, Sadie's father found her in the grease pit and quickly pulled her out and tried to save her. "Immediately when they didn't see her playing, the family called police to say she was missing and by the time police got there, her family had already found her and started CPR," Lee County coroner Bill Harris told CNN.

Unfortunately, they were too late. "She was only missing about 5 to 10 minutes but by the time her dad found her in the pit, she was unresponsive. She died in the emergency room at the hospital," Harris said.

Police say that video footage of the incident clearly shows Sadie stepping on the grease pit lid causing it to flip up. It then shows her sliding inside of the contraption before the lid flips upside down and back onto the pit. 

While it is tragic, officials do not expect foul play was a part of this accident, ultimately ruling her cause of death as an accidental drowning.

"In my 30 years of working in the coroner's office, I have never seen anything like this before," Harris said of the incident. 

Bruster's ice cream shop released a statement expressing its condolences for the Andrews family:  

Bruster's Ice Cream/Facebook

There has also been a YouCaring campaign created for the family to raise money for Sadie's funeral costs. 

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In the wake of their daughter's death, the family has been left devastated but are making attempts to celebrate their daughter's life. According to AL.com, the little girl's mom, Corrie, said: "We know without a shadow of a doubt, our baby is with Jesus."

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