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5-Year-Old Girl Slips Through Gap At Petaluma Train Station

This apparently occurred around January 6th, but made the news yesterday:

PETALUMA (KPIX 5) – A 5-year-old girl slipped and fell into the gap between the train and the platform at the downtown Petaluma SMART train station in early January.

Her mother, Petaluma resident Melissa Strange said, “It was terrifying.”

As the doors opened, officials say, the little girl got off before her mother, and instead of walking toward safety, she walked along the yellow strip and fell into the gap.

“Somebody screamed that somebody had fallen underneath the train. And once I heard her scream, it’s one of those things where you know your own children,” Strange said, describing the event that took place 10 days earlier.

A passenger immediately hit the emergency brake, which stopped the train from going forward. Then a conductor jumped down onto the tracks.

“The conductor went under the train and pulled her out,” Strange said. “And then handed her to me.”

KPIX 5 asked Strange, at that moment, what was going through her mind?

“A little bit of peace that I had my daughter back and I was never going to let her go,” she said.

Strange, who is a pediatrician, assessed that her daughter was a little banged up, but otherwise just fine.

We asked SMART spokesperson Jeanne Belding, how could this have happened?

“Well, we have the safety strip here so it’s a reminder for people not to straddle the train and when you’re exiting to be extra careful and walk on this side of the platform,” Belding said.

An internal investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, there are now extra markings in red paint to remind people to stay back from the gap.
We asked Belding to respond to Strange’s concern that the gap is just too large.

“Well, the gap is within all the requirements,” Belding said. “It meets all the safety standards. And in addition to that, we have level boarding. Right near the door of the train.”

Strange wants an outside agency to investigate and that changes be made.

“I think the train needs to stop service until they can fix that problem,” Strange said. “It’s the same as if a bridge has a problem. Don’t say there’s an issue with a bridge and then, ‘oh, we’re going to let people go across that bridge until it’s fixed. You shut it down, assess for safety, fix the problem and then get up and running again.”

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I'm glad the little girl is okay.

An Operation Lifesaver Teachable Moment for sure.

Yes, thankfully this did not turn tragic.  But the last paragraph above is bothersome "I think the train needs to stop service until they can fix that problem" ...  etc.  You have to wonder about that mother of a 5 year old who doesn't grab the hand of her child in such a situation.  How do they manage to cross the street if they can't manage a train platform?  Strange, indeed.  Just another example of today's world where nobody takes responsibility for their own carelessness, casually shifting blame to entities with deep pockets.

Yep.  Wondered the same myself Dave. 

I strongly agree.

Dave S. (the mysterious ;-)

There was a piece on the 11 PM CBS news last night about this incident and the mother was on camera saying the same thing about shutting down the train.  Both my wife and I shook our heads, the yellow curb is clearly visible.

Mom take responsibility! 

If I was walking on the sidewalk of a busy street with my 5yr old I would be holding their hand.  But I guess if I wasn't and my child feel in the street I would want all streets closed until a safer sidewalk was installed.  The new world we live in. No more commensence. 

Either they can make everything 100% idiot-proof, or they could maybe this thing called WATCHING THEIR KIDS. 


Good to hear from you.  I seem to remember that you live in Texas.  Am I correct?

If so you need to come out here to visit and see what god's country is really about.


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