Family Sues After Another Child Falls to Death From Same Virginia Apartment Building

In less than three months, two toddlers fell to their deaths from the same apartment building in Fairfax County, Virginia. 

On Monday, a 2-year-old boy fell from a balcony of the Skyline Towers Apartments. In May, a 3-year-old boy fell out of a window of the same building. On Tuesday, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. 

The 2-year-old fell off a 24th-floor balcony of the building in the 5600 block of Seminary Road. First responders tried to save the child, but he was pronounced dead. A maintenance man said he heard a man screaming hysterically. 

An adult inside the apartment was taking care of another child at the time of the fall, Fairfax County police said in an update Tuesday. 

Police did not immediately release the child's name. Initially, police believed he fell out of a window. 

On May 30, 3-year-old Syed Noor Zaidi died after falling from the 26th floor of the apartment tower. The screen on a window gave out, his family says.

His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against the building owner and property manager, arguing they were negligent and "actually knew or should have known by the use of ordinary care" that the windows were dangerous.

In 2015, a toddler fell from the fifth floor of an apartment and survived.

"It is simply dangerous to children, and I hope that no other children have to die before Skyland Towers does something to make its property safe," said Kim Brooks-Rodney, the Zaidi family's lawyer.

The family is suing for $100 million.

A spokesman for Equity Residential, which owns the building, released a statement saying the company was cooperating with the investigation into the death Monday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time," the statement said.

Residents told News4 that the rails on the balconies are wide enough apart that a child can squeeze through them. 

"In between them, any 2-year-old can put their head through the gap," one resident said. "My wife wants me to move and buy a house." 

Many residents are concerned about the locks on the window screens, a resident told News4 on Monday.

Linda Watkins, a spokesperson for the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, previously told News4 that window screens are meant to keep bugs out but are not sturdy enough to keep children inside. Watkins said parents should keep furniture away from windows.

"A lot of times, we will have furniture of some sort, or even the crib, pushed up against a window, and toddlers can climb up on that and get to the windows and push those screens out," she said.

Families can install window stops or guards, and if a window opens from the top and bottom, they should only open the top.

An investigation into the child's death Monday is ongoing. 

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