WASHINGTON — Two days after a 10-year-old boy fell through the ice on a Gaithersburg storm water pond and died, Nikia Joines bemoaned the fact it had not been fenced off.
That was before the Gaithersburg resident and some neighbors walked to the site and stopped short.
“Oh, they put [up] a fence now! This wasn’t here … this is new,” Joines said.
A wire fence, roughly 4-feet-tall, encircled the pond at Diamondback and Reprise drives on Wednesday afternoon, orange ties fluttering from its top. A bouquet of flowers in bright yellow wrapping had been placed there.
Gaithersburg officials said fences are not required around what city code calls “storm water control devices.”
But John Schlicting, director of Planning and Code Administration for Gaithersburg, says that’s not the case for the pond where D’Angelo “DJ ” McMullen was submerged for nearly 30 minutes.
"DJ" McMullen, 10, died after being submerged in frigid pond water for 30 minutes on Monday. (Courtesy Mont. Co. police)
“The city did require a 42-inch safety fencing for ‘Pond No. 1′ as a condition for approval,” he said.
Inspection records show there was a fence around the pond in October, Schlichting said. It’s not clear when that fence was taken down or why.
Photos taken Tuesday morning — the morning after the incident — show no sign of a fence around the pond. A large iron fence runs along a stone retaining wall on Diamondback Drive, but beyond that there appeared to be open access to the pond.
The site is part of the Crown Farm Development, a sprawling project that includes a shopping center, office space and new homes, according to Schlichting.
McMullen was one of three kids who fell into the water on Monday. The other two were rescued and survived.
Naimaah Young, another neighborhood resident, shook her head on Wednesday while looking at the new fence.
“What help is this now? It should have always been there,” she said. “Now you want to put a fence up after some tragedy happened? That’s terrible.”
WTOP’S Kate Ryan contributed to this report.