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Dangerous property attracts teenagers, leads to tragedy

It is not always easy to keep trespassers off one's property, especially if there is something enticing that draws people in. Swimming pools, for example, are considered "attractive nuisances" because children are likely to approach them without fearing danger. In some cases, property owners in Pennsylvania and other states may leave buildings or other structures abandoned, and teenagers may use these places for private hangouts or daring adventures. However, when abandoned structures become dilapidated, the owner of the dangerous property may be liable for any injuries.

Recently, a tragic event renewed concern about abandoned grain silos in another state. Police and other authorities had been called to certain silos on numerous occasions because they are a popular gathering place for teenagers. Around 6 a.m. one morning, police received a call that someone was trapped on the roof of one of the silos. Officers contacted the fire department for assistance, but the rescuers were not able to locate anyone after an hour of searching.

Meanwhile, the family of a teenage girl learned that the girl had been at the silo with friends. When she did not come home, the family went to search the silo. Just after noon, police received the chilling call that the family had found their daughter's body in the basement of the silo. She had apparently fallen at least five stories to her death.

Officials say rescuers had entered the silo on numerous occasions in the past, and the structure was in dangerous disrepair. Steps were missing and the floor had holes in it. Still, the unsecured building, like many in Pennsylvania, was known to be popular with young people. The parents of the victim may be considering a lawsuit against the owner of the dangerous property. Such a suit may finally convince the owner to take measures to prevent further injuries on his property.

Source: dallasnews.com, "Teenage girl dies in 'tragic accident' at Fort Worth grain silos", Claire Z. Cardona, Sept. 19, 2016

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