Dad says his children were burned by apple juice at restaurant


Caitlin Sinett

Derry Township, Pennsylvania -- Two children are in the hospital after their parents say they drank apple juice and suffered burns to their throats at a restaurant in Lancaster County.

Richard Zaragoza, Jr. was celebrating his 10th birthday with dinner at the Star Buffet and Grill in East Lampeter Township on Friday.

His father, Richard Zaragoza, Sr., said, "It was my son's birthday so I decided to let him go with his mom, you know celebrate for a little while. So they decided to go to Star Buffet. That's where he wanted. His restaurant of choice. His favorite place to go."

The mother took other kids to the birthday dinner as well, including her daughter 4-year-old Ginaya Mendoza.

Both Ginaya and Richard ordered apple juice and the server brought the juice in cups.

Zaragoza said, "As soon as they took a sip of it, they were throwing up and there was blood you know, and all that stuff."

The children were rushed to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and their parents said they suffered burns to their throats.

Zaragoza said the children are in critical but stable condition. He is concerned, especially for his son.

"He has Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes, so the concerns are a lot worse," he said.

The family has gone to the buffet for years, but said this experience was different.

Zaragoza said, "And that's the other thing, like any other time that they brought the apple juice to us they would bring a styrofoam cup with ice and a separate drink so you can open and pour it if you want to. You know this time they brought it already made."

We reached out to the owner of the restaurant, but all he would tell us is they bought the apple juice from a local supermarket.

Zaragoza said no one from the restaurant has contacted him.

He said, "Still open for business, which is mind-baffling to me. You know I haven't, usually when something like that happens you would think the health inspectors would go and there'd be a full blown investigation."


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