L.I. Teen Dies After Falling Into Sewage Pit at Dunkin' Donuts

17-year-old slipped into cesspool behind Dunkin' Donuts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork.com
    The 17-year-old worker slipped and fell into the open cesspool while he was taking out the trash.

    A Long Island teenager taking out the garbage at a doughnut shop on Sunday night fell into a sewage pit and died, police said.

            Amiri Zeqiri, 17, slipped into an open cesspool behind a Dunkin' Donuts in Smithtown, about 40 miles east of New York City, police said. There usually was a manhole cover over the cesspool, a hole in the ground that collects waste from toilets and sinks, they said.
           
    The teen's younger cousin was inside the doughnut shop, realized something was wrong when he didn't return and went to look for him.
           
    The cousin found the teen in about 8 feet of water and ran to a nearby store for help, but when he returned the teen was no longer visible, police said.
           
    Officers from the Suffolk County Police Department's Emergency Services Section pulled the teen from the cesspool and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
           
    An autopsy was scheduled for the teen, who lived in Central Islip. Police were investigating how the cesspool was left uncovered.
           
    Dunkin' Donuts' parent company, Dunkin' Brands Inc., didn't immediately return a telephone message left after hours at its headquarters in Canton, Mass.
           
    It's not the first time someone has died in a Long Island cesspool, which usually consists of a big hole in the ground lined with rocks to filter the sewage before it's absorbed into the earth and usually is covered with a lid.
           
    In June 2007, a landscaper was killed after driving a lawnmower into a cesspool at a Deer Park home.
           
    In July 2006, a worried woman who went to check on her 76-year-old aunt found her buried in a 10-foot-deep cesspool in the front yard of her Huntington home.
           
    And in September 2001, a Huntington man practicing archery in his backyard with his children died when an 18-foot-deep cesspool caved in and swallowed him. Searchers soon found the body of Michael Lobasso, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but struggled for about 18 hours to pull it from the quicksand-like pool of muck.
           
    There also have been cesspool rescues, however.
           
    In April 2006, a 71-year-old man who went outside in the rain to pick up the Sunday newspaper plunged into a cesspool in his soggy front yard in Huntington, and his son and a neighbor were sucked in when they tried to save him.
           
    Andrew Palladino yelled for his wife, Louise Palladino, to help him, and she threw a rope.
           
    "Oh, my God,'' the wife said. "A little more, he's sinking. He's a goner!''
           
    Firefighters eventually lassoed Palladino, his son and his neighbor and pulled them out -- covered in raw sewage but not badly hurt.
           
    The son, Dan Palladino, said the scene "was like a horror picture.''