All McDonald’s Temporarily Close in Peru After Two Teen Employees Were Killed When They Were Electrocuted by Loose Cable

Gabriel Campos Zapata and Alexandra Porras Inga.

They were two teenagers — once in love, now just friends — working the overnight shift at a McDonald’s in Lima, Peru, when they were electrocuted by a loose cable over the weekend.

The deaths of Alexandra Porras Inga and Gabriel Campos Zapata inside a popular McDonald’s have shaken Peru, a nation already mired in a debate about how to tackle precarious labor conditions, particularly at the large companies that have aided Peru’s supercharged growth.

And they come as McDonald’s faces increased scrutiny over treatment of workers around the world.

In an interview on Monday, the mother of Ms. Porras Inga, Johana Inga Argote, 38, said that she last saw her daughter on Friday, after mass. On Sunday morning, Ms. Inga Argote received a call from a McDonald’s employee.

“Ma’am, there’s been an accident,” the employee told her, she said. “Your daughter is dead.”

When she hung up, she said, she began to scream.

On Monday, Arcos Dorados, the company that runs McDonald’s in Peru, announced a two-day mourning period in which it would close all its restaurants in the country. “We share the sorrow and extreme pain of the affected families,” the company wrote in a statement, adding that it was cooperating fully with authorities to uncover what had happened.

McDonald’s, based in Chicago, said that safety was a “global priority” and that it was examining the matter with Arcos Dorados.

Police have opened an investigation into the deaths.

The restaurant where the teenagers died is located in Pueblo Libre, a middle-class district in Peru’s capital. It is owned by Arcos Dorados, a publicly-traded company that holds the exclusive right to operate McDonald’s franchises in at least 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Julie Turkewitz