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Yorktown officials address manhole cover after toddler burned at splash pad

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A toddler was recovering Wednesday night at Riley Hospital for Children from severe burns to her hands and feet after playing at a splash pad.

Town officials are not yet sure what may have happened.

Kai’Brea Maurice, a 17-month-old from Muncie, and her mom, Austyn Maurice, went to the new splash pad in Yorktown on Monday afternoon. Austyn said Kai’Brea ran over to the edge of the pad on some manhole covers. Immediately the girl’s feet started to burn and then she put her hands down and those were burned as well.

Austyn believes it is a chemical burn. She said that doctors have told her they are deep second-degree burns but haven’t determined the cause.

Yorktown Town Manager Pete Olson said Wednesday that while the manhole covers are over chlorine and acid tanks, which are required for the disinfecting process of the splash pad, they don’t appear to have any leaks. They are about 6-8 inches below the surface. If there was a leak, it would go deeper underground to a containment well, not to the surface.

Officials went out Tuesday and measured the temperature. Olson said the covers tested at about 140 degrees in the heat of the sun compared to the concrete which tested at 120 degrees.

On Wednesday, town employees painted the manhole covers white to reflect the heat. Olson said that area tested cooler than the surrounding concrete after the paint job.

“We were absolutely saddened. We in no way envisioned this being an area that people get hurt although things happen anytime that you’re out and about,” Olson said. “We have individuals over there and looking those areas twice a day and making sure everything’s great. We’ll continue to do that.”

The splash pad just opened two months ago and is part of a $750,000 renovation downtown next to Town Hall in an area called the Civic Green.

Austyn told News 8 she was exhausted from the last couple days and declined an interview. She said doctors are supposed to tell her Thursday if Kai’Brea needs surgery. She said physicians are hopeful because Kai’Brea cries when her hands and feet are touched, which is a good sign that likely means the nerves are still working.