Mile From Where Boy Died, Disney Firefighters Fed Gators

Nearby staffers feared 'becoming alligator food'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2016 6:21 AM CDT
A Mile From Where Boy Died, Disney Staff Were Feeding Gators
A sign near a Disney resort warns about alligators.   (Walt Disney World Resort via AP, File)

Firefighters at Disney World were warned to stop feeding alligators two months before a gator killed 2-year-old Lane Graves, according to employee emails. Emails from employees of Reedy Creek Emergency Services—which operates inside the park—show firefighters had been feeding at least one of two gators apparently living in a pond near their fire station, less than a mile from where Lane was killed, reports the Orlando Sentinel. One alligator was believed to be four or five feet long, and the other was a juvenile. In one email to the fire station's commanders, a communications rep said an alligator had been spotted near the station where communications staff parked their cars, and some "expressed concern of becoming alligator food. ... (C)ould you ask your crews to stop feeding the gator."

A Reedy Creek dispatcher later complained about two gators in the parking lot. "They are not docile gators, they are mean and they are out looking for food because people are feeding them," he wrote. "It's getting uncomfortable." A Reedy Creek district administrator says firefighters received "just a talking to"—though feeding gators is illegal in Florida. It's not clear whether these gators have any connection to Lane's death. The administrator is skeptical because they would have had "to travel across a couple roadways" to get to the Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where the June 14 incident took place. Still, notes the Washington Post, trying to avoid such attacks is "one reason it is illegal to feed alligators in Florida." The resort area has since added signs warning people about feeding them, reports People. (The June attack was the result of a "perfect storm" of circumstances.)

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