Fresno FD warns of canal dangers after two bodies are pulled from waterways in one week


Two bodies were pulled from Fresno area canals just one week apart.

An investigation is now underway after a man’s body was found Tuesday morning in a waterway near Biola. It happened exactly one week after a body was recovered from a canal near Yosemite and Belmont in the Tower District.

“We’ve got over 100 miles of canals in the city,” Paul Garnier a Fresno fire captain said Tuesday. 

Garnier said that adds up to a lot of potential danger. “As the weather heats up we get more incidences of people going in to cool off,” he said. 

It’s a decision Justin Simmons of the department’s water rescue team said may be deadly.

“The water is moving really fast, anywhere from 2 to 5 miles an hour and it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you get in a 5 mile an hour water it will take you right off your feet,” Simmons said. 

He said once people are in they cannot get out, leading to exhaustion and hypothermia.

“It’s very cold water. Right now it’s still 52-53 degrees in the canal,” Simmons said.

The cause of the recent deaths are being investigated, but fire officials said for the most part these tragedies are completely avoidable.

“We just want to remind people, I don’t know how many times we can say it, just stay away from the canals. It’s nothing but danger,” Garnier said. 

He said if you come across someone in a canal call 9-1-1 and they ask people to stay on scene and keep their eyes on the vitctim. It gives rescuers a much better shot at saving someone if they don’t have to waste time looking. 

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