Jefferson County fire officials issue warning about danger of swimming in Big River

Missouri

HOUSE SPRINGS, Mo. – Fire officials are issuing warnings about the dangers of a beach along the Big River in Jefferson County.

More people are looking at Rockford Beach along the Big River in House Springs as a swimming option this summer since many pools are still closed because of the pandemic.

“So, we might be getting people that are not residents of the area and have never been to Rockford Beach before and are visiting it for the first time. Rockford Beach in particular is really deceptive,” said High Ridge Fire Protection District Engineer John Barton.

Signs are posted warning of the dangers of the strong currents in Big River. Two people have drowned and many other rescued in the last six years.

“I won’t go in the water anymore simply because the undercurrent is so strong here,” said Mark Harrison of Washington.

Barton said there have been emergency calls to the beach in the last month.

“So far this year, we’ve been dispatched to two swift water rescues and one possible drowning,” he said. “So, three calls this early in the year is pretty alarming for us because sometimes we might run three calls all year long.”

With a lot of rain expected over the next few days and the Big River expected to be running high, the High Ridge Fire Protection District is taking no chances. It’s already moved its rescue boat out into a position where it can quickly leave if needed.

“When they go over the rapids, it’s a very rocky area; so, there’s a risk of them getting trapped in those rocks or hitting their head and losing consciousness,” Barton said.

Fire officials said anyone swimming in a river should wear a life jacket and have a swimming buddy.

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