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Escalator Inspections Ordered Across Mass. After Boy's Death

AUBURN (CBS) – After a 4-year-old boy was killed in a tragic accident on an escalator at the Auburn Mall, officials are ordering multiple inspections of escalators throughout Massachusetts.

The escalator at the Sears store where Mark DiBona slipped off and fell two stories remains closed. It's at the center of a family tragedy and state investigation.

Two inspectors were later suspended for failing to notice a gap near the top of the escalator that is larger than allowed by state code. The boy reportedly slipped through that gap and fell.

WBZ-TV's Jim Smith reports.

"There was a barricade that is required by the code in this particular circumstance, because the prescribed gap, which is five inches, was exceeded. That barricade was missing," said Thomas Gatzunis, the state's public safety commissioner.

There are 975 escalators in the state of Massachusetts, and they are inspected each year. The two inspectors involved have looked at about 25 in the past year, and they will all be re-inspected.

The DiBona family has not commented, but the boy's father reportedly mourned his son on his Facebook page.

"This is an absolute tragedy that should have been avoided," said Gatzunis. "Our inspectors absolutely did something wrong…My heart goes out to the family."

The two inspectors have been suspended without pay for now, and officials are reviewing the incident to see whether further action should be taken.

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