HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A scare at the Sarah Jane Sherman Pool in Chicopee Saturday evening has other local communities taking added precautions as they prepare to open public pools for the summer.
The Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department is anticipating a busy summer here at Pouliot Pool. Western Mass News is getting answers on what the park is doing to ensure the safety of residents in light of a toddler falling in a closed pool in Chicopee last weekend.
Saturday night at the Sarah Jane Sherman Memorial Pool in Chicopee, not yet open for the season, a two-year-old fell into the pool but fortunately was saved by two police officers called to the scene.
Western Mass News received this statement on Monday afternoon from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates the pool, that reads in part, quote, “An employee of the pool was there earlier in the day and confirms the gates were locked, but it appears they were later propped open.”
They are now investigating a likely incident of trespassing from Saturday evening which may have contributed to the unlocked and open gate.
This has caught the attention of other public pool operators in the area. We spoke to Maureen Tisdell, who oversees Pouliot Pool in Holyoke, to see how the Chicopee incident is being used to reevaluate safety and security measures.
“I think that is a lesson for all the surrounding cities and towns with pools to really emphasize the importance with the lifeguards who are locking up for the day or whoever is on staff to double triple check the gates that need to be locked,” Tisdell said.
This particular pool closed in 2015 for renovations, which she said will improve security measures.
“I think we’re ready to go, and with the renovations, they definitely upgraded the key system to prevent people from trying to break in,” Tisdell said.
She deters pool jumpers.
“We did have vandalism problems so, as you can see, the fence it comes up, and it goes over to prevent what you call pool jumpers,” Tisdell said.
For Tisdell, keeping everyone safe is top of mind.
“That’s our top priority going into the summer season, who is coming in and out of the pool when we lock up for the day,” Tisdell said.
Pouliot Pool is scheduled to open later this month, although there is no official date set at this point.
As for the situation at Sarah Jane Sherman Pool, Chicopee PD and the DCR tell Western Mass News it is still an open investigation.