Pool inspectors face hearing in Fall River
Two Fall River health inspectors who signed off on a swimming pool where the body of a drowned 36-year-old woman went unnoticed for two days are scheduled to appear at a city disciplinary hearing Tuesday, according to the Fall River mayor’s office.
The hearing is meant to determine if the inspectors followed procedure when they allowed the pool, despite a murky appearance and an expired permit, to continue operating, Fall River’s mayor, William Flanagan, said yesterday. The inspectors were placed on paid administrative leave last week.
“It’s a fact-finding hearing to see if they violated any of their responsibilities,’’ Flanagan said. “As the mayor of this city, it is vital for me to ensure the public safety inspectors are fulfilling the duties assigned to them.’’
The two inspectors stopped in at the state-run Veteran’s Memorial Swimming Pool the day after Marie Joseph apparently drowned on June 26 and noticed its permit had expired six months prior, Flanagan said last week. An inspector returned the next day, June 28, and noted that the water appeared “cloudy,’’ he said.
Joseph’s body was pulled from the water later that night. She was last seen by a child as she went down a slide into the pool.
Depending on the results of the hearing, the inspectors, who will be represented by union attorneys, may face termination, Flanagan said.
The investigation into how inspectors, lifeguards, and swimmers could have failed to spot Joseph’s remains at the bottom of the pool for two days is ongoing, said Catherine Williams, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns and operates the pool.
Details into that probe, which began last week, were not being released, Williams said yesterday. Joseph’s death prompted officials to temporarily close 23 department pools for review. All have reopened as of last week, except for the Fall River pool, which remains closed indefinitely. Another pool in Chelsea, closed for an issue with its pumps, should reopen “soon,’’ she said.
Citywide inspections of 21 public and semipublic pools in Fall River prompted by the drowning closed one condominium pool this week for a violation of proper signage, Flanagan said.
Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for Joseph, who was from Haiti, are tentatively set for this week at the Silva-Faria Funeral Home in Fall River, said Veronica Reis, a friend of Joseph.
Joseph’s family intends to bury her near her mother in a cemetery in Brockton, she said.
L. Finch can be reached at email@example.com.