KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas City, Kansas, teenager remains in critical condition at Children’s Mercy, according to authorities, after nearly drowning in a city pool Saturday.
But questions remain as to why the pool, which won’t open this summer, was filled with water. The Unified Government didn’t respond to questions regarding the matter Tuesday.
The Unified Government announced last month Parkwood Pool won’t open because of a lifeguard shortage.
“Unfortunately, it was very difficult to recruit lifeguards and other key staff when schools were closed and labor shortages are prevalent across the region,” the U.G. said in the earlier release.
According to authorities, the 13-year-old boy and two other juveniles hopped the fence to the pool sometime before 7 p.m. Saturday evening. The pool is right next to the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department’s Station No. 5.
“A child had started knocking on our garage door saying that he thought his brother was drowning,” said Denton Stein, a 15-year veteran firefighter/paramedic.
Firefighters found the boy unconscious in the deep end of Parkwood Pool.
“The crew members that jumped the fence were able to pull the patient out of the water, and the other members were able to cut the lock and bring our equipment in and CPR was started immediately,” Stein said.
Stein assisted on advanced life support techniques before the boy was transported to the hospital.
On Tuesday, the pool remained filled with water. Signs say it’s open until 8 p.m., but the gates are locked. FOX4 saw plenty of kids outside the pool fence right off the park trail. They came on bikes in swimming suits, planning to go to the pool — unaware it’s closed and won’t open.
“I think it’s very upsetting to the kids and to the families that just want to go out and have a good time,” said Trista Jasso, who arrived at the pool with three children.
What’s unclear is if the pool was recently filled to help train future life guards. A posting on the Unified Government’s job page says you can sign up for a paid 7-13 week lifeguard internship program until the end of the month.
Even if that’s the case, Jasso worries by trying to save lives in the future, a glistening pool on a hot summer day might create risks right now.
“They should have a lifeguard on duty no matter what, or somebody out here to make sure that nobody does get in here because they did fill it up, and it’s during the day time,” she said.
The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office said the boys won’t be charged with trespassing, and they are praying the boy recovers.
“We are praying for him, his family and friends. Please if you have children, talk to them about water safety. No matter if you can swim or not, do not go into a pool, lake or body of water without proper supervision. Their lives are more important than anything else,” the department said in a Facebook post Tuesday.