By Kent Larsen
LDS Conference Center Roof Closed After Child Falls
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
closed the roof of its new Conference Center amid safety concerns early this
week. A four-year-old boy climbed a railing Monday and fell 21 feet off the
side of the building, landing on his head. The boy, Jesse Owens of Taylor,
Arizona, was listed in fair condition Wednesday at Primary Childrens Medical
Center in Salt Lake City.
The Church says that the Conference Center meets prevailing safety
standards, "The railings currently in place around the Conference Center
rooftop gardens meet code requirements," Church spokesman Dale Bills said.
However, the Church may decide to make further safety measures, "In light of
Monday's accident, the Conference Center roof remains closed until an
evaluation is completed to determine if further measures may be needed. We,
of course, want visitors to safely enjoy the beauty of the rooftop trees,
fountains and walkways."
Owens was visiting the rooftop gardens with his mother and an aunt, part of
a family group of nearly 15 people. Salt Lake City police watch commander
Lt. Jack Rickards told the Provo Daily Herald that the child's aunt
apparently made no effort to stop the boy's climbing, "The initial
indication was that (the aunt) saw him climb onto the railing and saw him
put his leg over the railing," Rickards said. "He then lost his balance and
she went to grab him, but he was already on his way down."
Rickards says that the boy sustained injuries to his head and right arm.
When he was first taken to the hospital, he was unconscious and considered
to be in extremely critical condition.
LDS Church closes roof at Conference Center
Deseret News 6Jun01 N1
Child injured in Conference Center fall
Provo UT Daily Herald pgA2 5Jun01 D2
By Jennifer Minnich: The Daily Herald