Inspection finds numerous problems in fountain where student die -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Inspection finds numerous problems in fountain where student died


An inspection of the South Georgia Technical College fountain, where a student was electrocuted in September, uncovers numerous code violations.

The attorney for the student's family says another student was shocked in that fountain in August.

That electrical inspection was done by an independent firm for Sumter County Sheriff's Investigators, and found the fountain was "extremely electrically hazardous." The attorney for her family says Adrianne Rhine's death could have been prevented if the school had taken proper action after the first shocking incident.

18 year old Adrianne Rhine died September 27th when she went into the South Georgia Technical College fountain to fetch her son's ball, which had rolled into it. Medical examiners ruled she died from electrocution. Her family's attorney has filed notice to the state they plan to sue the school.

Attorney Yehuda Smolar said "Miss Rhine's death was completely preventable and sad and unnecessary."

An electrical firm brought in by Sheriff Pete Smith following Rhine's death found a number of problems and code violations that made that fountain an electrical hazard.

Five weeks before Rhine was electrocuted, another student, Ashley Bentley, was shocked when she touched the water in the fountain. The attorney says South Georgia Tech, was negligent in fixing the hazard.

Smolar said "They completely failed to do any kind of maintenance when they knew that there was a condition that was dangerous. And what they did do simply masked the problem."

Smolar furnished us a school report on what was done after the shocking incident. The maintenance director cleaned the fountain and turned it back on. In the report the maintenance director and helper report they stuck their hands in the water then to test it for electrical hazards. No electrical inspection is recorded, but the school did put up a chain surrounding the fountain. Smolar says it's an amazing indictment for a school that teaches electricians.

Smolar said "They are supposed to be teaching people how to do it the right way and they themselves, their own maintenance people didn't do it the right way."

The electrical inspection reports numerous code violations. Now the Rhine family has filed notice to the state that they plan legal action. South Georgia Technical College officials said in a statement they are unable to comment based on pending litigation.

Rhine's family attorney said Adrianne's family mostly wants to make sure that fountain is made safe, and that no other student is ever hurt or killed by it.

The family's attorney gave the state the necessary 60-day notice that they plan to sue the school.

That suit should be filed in Sumter County in January.

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