Lawsuit: Toddler lost 2 fingers caught in escalator

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A 3-year-old Utah girl had two fingers amputated after they were caught in a faulty grocery store escalator, her family says in a lawsuit filed against the store and the escalator manufacturer.

The girl's mother, Silvia Zamora, said in the lawsuit filed Monday that she heard a scream while she was buying a few ingredients for dinner at a self-checkout register near an escalator on the second floor of Smith's Marketplace in Salt Lake City.

She said she found her daughter on the first floor covered in blood and missing her fingers. The child apparently got them stuck inside a hole left by missing pieces of the comb-like teeth of one step, attorney Brian Webber said.

The extremities had to be retrieved from among escalator components under the floor, he said.

The girl was rushed to a hospital but her middle and ring fingers had been amputated below the middle knuckles and couldn't be re-attached.

The manufacturer, Schindler Elevator Corp., said Wednesday it regrets when anyone is hurt on its machines, but deny that the escalator malfunctioned or that there were any missing pieces involving their maintenance of it.

Representatives for the grocery store chain did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment on the incident that occurred last September.

The suit claims safety switches did not stop the escalator and an employee had to rush over and halt it manually. In addition, it says there were no caution signs and the store's permit to operate it had expired more than two weeks before the finger amputation.

State inspectors had warned the store two years before to replace broken comb teeth and repair caution signs, but the work hadn't been completed before the incident, attorneys say in court documents.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.