Gaithersburg issues "Notice of Violation" in drowning of boy

GAITHERSBURG, MD -- We are still trying to get you answers on why there was no fence around a storm water retention pond in Gaithersburg where a 10-year-old boy drowned Monday.

The City of Gaithersburg has just issued a notice of violation against Westbrook Acquisitions, developer of the big new Crown Farm project.

DJ McMullin's family was back at the scene in Gaithersburg Thursday, trying to make sense of the little boy's death and angry there was no fence around the pond when DJ, his brother, and another boy ventured out on the thin ice.

Services for the 10-year-old, who was looking forward to serving as a fifth grade school patrol, are now scheduled for Saturday evening at a funeral home in Woodbridge, Virginia, where he used to live.

There's a fence up now at the new Crown development near Rio, and there are "no trespassing" signs. But there was nothing there to even slow down the boys on Monday.

The developer was required by the city to have a 42 inch fence, lower than the one here now. Probably not high enough to keep out a determined ten-year-old. But maybe enough to discourage the kids.

The development is so new that the first person to call 911 had a hard time even describing to rescuers where the boys had broken through the ice. "Crown, Crown, Crown is the community. City of Gaithersburg. Right off 370," the unnamed caller says on the tape of the call.

DJ's brother and another boy were able to get out but DJ drowned in about six feet of water. Despite that, officials of Montgomery Fire Rescue say they are completely satisfied with how quickly their crews arrived and began their search for DJ under the muddy water.

"There is no ice in our region... that is strong enough to support human weight. It looks enticing, it looks fun. But the best ice is in an arena," Asst. Chief Scott Graham warned repeatedly after the tragedy.

The unfenced pond is just a few hundred yards from DJ's home.

The family wanted us to let you know the viewing for DJ is Saturday between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Miller's Funeral Home in Woodbridge, with services after that. As you might imagine, they are struggling with his loss and could use our support.


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