July 1, 2011

"The water got murkier and murkier"

The little boy who was with Marie Joseph on Sunday went to the lifeguard to tell him that she had fallen into the pool, the state-run Veterans Memorial pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River, Massachusetts.

He was ignored.

 Mariejoseph Poolvictim

Sunday, Monday, people swam in the pool and never noticed the dead body in the deep end.  Neither did the lifeguards.

Monday, health inspectors came by and noticed the city permit had expired, but they didn't notice the dead body.

The pool had not been inspected in about a year, and its permit had expired Dec. 31

State inspectors returned on Tuesday to inspect the pool.  They called the water "cloudy," yet passed the pool anyway because the chlorine and pH level checked out normal.

It was a young couple that jumped the pool's fence for an late night illicit swim who discovered the body of Mary Joseph.

Edward Lambert Jr., DCR commissioner and former Fall River mayor, said he also put the “pool’s entire staff” on administrative leave, the same step Flanagan took for his health inspectors.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marie Joseph,” Lambert said in a statement yesterday, adding his agency is cooperating with a police probe.
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Yet city officials charged with inspecting pools elsewhere said a pool as cloudy as Fall River’s should never have been opened.

“It’s a safety hazard. If that pool is so murky you couldn’t see the bottom, you couldn’t see that there was a corpse there, then there’s something really wrong with the clarity of that pool,” said Frank Singleton, director of Lowell’s Health Department. “It should have been closed and had the clarity restored.

Lifeguards and swimmers who were at the pool Monday and Tuesday told investigators the water had become murky since Sunday, raising the grisly possibility the body’s decomposition may have been contributing to the decreasing clarity.

“The water got murkier and murkier,’’ said Gregg Miliote,

Posted by Jill Fallon at July 1, 2011 10:15 AM | Permalink