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Teen falls into open cesspool

A Nesconset Fire Department diver is lowered through the manhole to search for additional victims. Courtesy Smithtown FD (click for larger version)
March 01, 2010 | 07:23 AM
A teen working at a Smithtown Dunkin Donuts fell through an open manhole to his death Sunday night.

Amiri Zeqiri, 17, of Central Islip, an employee at the Dunkin Donuts on Nesconset Highway near the intersection with Route 111, was putting out the garbage behind the store around 9:11 pm Sunday when he fell into an open cesspool normally secured with a manhole cover, according to Suffolk police.

Zeqiri's 14 year-old cousin, inside the shop at the time, realized that something was amiss when his cousin did not immediately return, and went to investigate, police said. He found Zeqiri in the cesspool in about eight feet of water, realized he couldn't extricate his cousin by himself, and ran to a nearby store for help, according to police. Upon his return, Zeqiri was no longer visible and the police were called.

Arriving Smithtown Fire Department and Suffolk Police Emergency Services personnel spotted Zeqiri in the hole and brought him to the surface through the use of two pike poles equipped with hooks that were secured to his clothing, according to Smithtown firefighters. Zeqiri was taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown where he was pronounced dead at 10:10 pm. A postmortem examination is being performed to determine the exact cause of death, police said Monday.

After Zeqiri's extrication, Smithtown firefighters, aided by technical rescue and scuba units from the Hauppauge and Nesconset departments, respectively, searched the cesspool for any additional victims that might have fallen through the open manhole. The county Department of Public Works provided a vacuum truck to clear sludge out of the sewer to allow rescue to proceed, according to Smithtown fire personnel. A camera was then placed in the hole and a Nesconset diver was lowered into the cavern to aid the search. No additional victims were found.

A police spokesman could not be immediately reached Monday morning to say which entity was responsible for the cesspool and cover.

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