The parents of a 2-year-old boy who drowned in a Baker County retention pond in April are suing the owner of the property, claiming he failed to install fencing that might have protected their son.
The toddler was found in the pond April 23 after he wandered away from the apartment where he was being watched by his 18-year-old sister while their parents were at work. A neighbor tried to revive the little boy with CPR, but he died at Ed Fraser Memorial Hospital in Macclenny.
The boy died days before his 3rd birthday.
According to court documents, the property owner did not have proper fencing as required by building permits.
The property owner applied Jan. 13, 2016, to the St. Johns River Water Management District for a permit for construction of the retention pond to be used for stormwater treatment, court documents show.
The plans for the retention pond were part of a nearly four-acre storage facility.
Plans submitted to the district detailed the construction of a 6-foot fence with a self-latching gate. A permit for construction was issued two weeks later on Jan. 27, 2016.
The man subsequently built the retention pond, which was completed in March 2017. However, the property owner did not install the fence as detailed in the construction plans, according to reports.
Children are attracted to water placing them at a greater risk of being involved in a drowning or near-drowning incident. Due to this, the law recognizes additional duties that owners of ponds, pools, hot tubs, and other bodies of water must take to protect children. Private property owners as well as public entities that do not take these precautions can be liable for a child’s injuries or death that occur on the property.