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Council member calls for investigation after man falls through sidewalk grate

Posted at 8:15 PM, Aug 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-06 22:37:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City Council member Reva Trammell is calling for an investigation after a sidewalk cover grate collapsed on First Street Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said a man was walking on the sidewalk when he fell through.

"He just disappeared from my sight," Derrick Freeman, who works nearby where the accident happened, said. "I ran up the block and he's like, 'Yo, yo. Can somebody let me out?'"

According to Richmond firefighters, the man suffered only minor cuts.


Eyewitnesses said a man was walking on the sidewalk when he fell through.

The victim was lucky considering some individuals across the country have died after falling through grates in the past. In fact, WPIX reports one person falls through a sidewalk grate about every 20 months in New York City.

In Richmond, according to Richmond Fire, it is the responsibility of the business owner who owns the property adjacent to the sidewalk cover for maintenance.

Freeman said the property where the man fell has been vacant for years.

Nearby business manager Wendy Cousins said that city's policy is unfounded.

Cousins, who has a large sidewalk cover in front of her Image Enhancement Center store that she believes is unsafe, said businesses have too much else going on to worry about grates.

"This is part of the sidewalk,  so I think they are responsible for this as well," Cousins said.

Trammell said she plans to address the issue at the next public safety meeting.