Cedar River neighbors concerned about safety

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Updated Saturday, May 4 at 5:20 PM

The warm weather draws people towards the water and that has a group of neighbors that live near the Cedar River concerned.

The water is cold and moving fast, creating a potential danger for kids that live nearby.

“They flock to the river during the summer,” said Levi Hollingsworth, a neighbor.

Hollingsworth pulled many kids to safety from the river last summer. Neighbors have dubbed him the local lifeguard.

“That’s what it seems sometimes,” he said.

To prevent the problem this year, neighbors are building fences around the water.

“I’m sure as hell not going to wait until there’s a drowning report and helicopters are overhead,” said Chuck Pillon, who helped organize the effort.

For Rick Hill, the project is personal. While tubing down the river his son got stuck under a log jam and almost died several years ago.

“It scared me I was waiting for them at the other end and they never showed,” said Hill.

“That look on a person’s face when haven’t a sense of where they are any longer, when they’re detached they’re afloat and they can’t breathe is, it just grabs you by the heart,” said Pillon.

“If a child goes under they just have a matter of minutes, maybe seconds before they’re in trouble,” said Tim Perciful, a spokesman for Mountain View Fire & Rescue.

With a trailer park full of kids just across the water, Hill knows his worst nightmare can easily happen to another parent.

“As long as it [the fence} stays up, it gives people the idea,” said Hill.

Mountain View Fire & Rescue’s Swift Water Rescue Team and the King County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine Unit are fully staffed and ready to respond as the weather gets warmer.

Officials consider May the most dangerous month for drowning in Washington.

Last month, a kayaker died on the Green River.

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