ASHLAND, Ohio -- The City of Ashland is warning families about the danger posed by a muddy duck pond that is currently being renovated.
A summertime visit to the pond at Brookside Park has been a tradition for generations of Ashland County residents. But the City of Ashland says the ecosystem in the pond has suffered in recent years, and that's why it was drained as part of a plan to dredge debris from the bottom. "Because of the depth of the pond, which isn't much, you don't have a lot of oxygen for fish and you need that or the fish aren't going to survive," said Ashland City Services Director Jerry Mack. "When we get it dried up, then we're going to try and get it cleaned out, do the best we can, do some cosmetic things to it and restock it."
Unfortunately, an eight-year-old boy wandered out onto the bed of the pond on Tuesday night, and sank into the mud up to his armpits.
An Ashland firefighter had to crawl out onto the pond and pull the boy out of the mud. Firefighters then used a sled attached to a rope to pull the victim and then his rescuer to safety.
The same thing happened on June 21, when a seven-year-old girl got stuck in the mud, while chasing after a frog. In that case, the firefighter who went to rescue the girl, reported that he too quickly sank into the mud. "It's because of the muckiness of it, and it's not quicksand. There's been comments that it's quicksand. No, it's just muck; the more you move in it, the more you may settle down into it, and the kids like to play in the mud. I mean, it's natural," said Mack.
After the first incident, the City of Ashland put up fencing to keep visitors away.
After the second incident, they put up signs warning them about the danger and advising that anyone who went around the fences onto the pond bed, would be considered a trespasser.
City officials are concerned that children may still not understand the threat posed by the muddy pond or the legal concept of trespassing. That's why they are hoping that parents will be vigilant when they visit the park.
Jerry Mack told Fox 8, "if something would happen to a child, I'd take that personally." In an effort to keep children away, Ashland Police and other city employees have stepped up their patrols around Brookside Park.