D.C.

Boy burned on grate near Georgetown Waterfront fountain

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With temperatures reaching 90 degrees and the heat index soaring as summer approaches, a cool dip in the fountains at the Georgetown Waterfront seems like a ticket to refreshment.

The metal grate sits just feet from the fountain where children can cool off. (Photo: Scarlett Utsick)

However, a few steps away from the fun lies an unmarked hazard in the grass, one than Scarlett Utsick and her son found out the hard way.

On Friday, Utsick took her toddler, Everett, to the park to play in the fountains when he dashed off onto the grass. He then fell down onto a metal plate nearby.

"I looked down and he was on top of a 3-by-3 metal grate," Utsick said. "I literally had to peel him off and he was burned."

Everett suffered severe 2nd-degree burns on his palms, forearms and leg, and all his mother wants to know is why the grate was unmarked and so close to an area where children play and roam freely.

"What are they there for?" Utsick said. "Why aren't they marked?"

The response from other parents who take their children to play in the fountains is universally in agreement with Utsick.

"You could run straight off the waterfall or the fountain with bare feet and be in the hospital pretty shortly afterwards," Andy McCullum, a father at the park, said.

For Utsick and her son, the recovery, both mental and physical, continues, and she says that Everett got tremendous care at George Washington Hospital, despite having to be on an IV and morphine for a period of time.

A National Park Service employee covered the grate Monday evening with a plank of wood, placing cones on top of it to warn others of the hazard.

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