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First responders warn communities with ponds to be vigilant after death of two girls

First responders warning of retention pond dangers
Retention Pond Dangers.png
Posted at 7:39 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 20:16:46-04

GREENWOOD — Two girls died after first responders pulled them from a retention pond in Greenwood Wednesday.

This tragic event has firefighters and the Department of Natural Resources urging people to not swim in them.

"I didn't know they were in distress; I just knew that they looked very young and I didn't see any adults with them,” Carol Risk, who called 911, said. "My instinct was they shouldn't be there."

Risk and her neighbor Jean Weber have been living in Clearbrook Village for years. They said nothing like this has ever happened before, mainly because people who live there make sure of it.

"We've always had signs up around our pond, and I keep trying to tell the children not to play in the lake or fish in the lake. I've always done that since I've been here," Weber, whose house borders the pond, said.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday a group of kids wound up in the water, and it ended in tragedy.

The DNR said retention ponds are dangerous, mainly because it's hard to see the bottom and judge how deep they are.

"One of the things that led to the tragedy is there was a shelf of 2-3 feet of water and then a drop off and the kids simply slipped off the drop off and then they were over their head,” Lt. Angela Goldman, a conservation officer with DNR, said. “That's what can make some of these retention ponds and other bodies of water dangerous."

But in Indiana, there aren't any standards or rules when it comes to security or signage around retention ponds.

"There is always an ongoing debate on whether we should close these retention ponds or leave them wide open,” Department Chief Michael Pruitt with the Bargersville Fire Department said. "There are arguments on aesthetics in the neighborhood, how a fence looks around everything [and] does a fence actually work. "

That’s why first responders said if you live near a retention pond, be on high alert.

"Educate your kids,” Goldman said. "Educate that that's not a safe place to go swimming. Especially like these houses that border this, you know, what if you could hang a life jacket on your fence post or something like a rope, just something on the edges so that if the kids do get in the water. "

The victims have not been identified. The Marion County Coroner will be responsible for releasing that information.