3 years after ice tragedy, positive changes along Sandusky River - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

3 years after ice tragedy, positive changes along Sandusky River

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SANDUSKY COUNTY, Ohio -

A little more than three years ago, three young boys died in the Sandusky River after falling through the ice.  Now, a sign warns of the danger at that location.  Out of this community's profound sorrow, there are new things in place to prevent similar tragedies.

Rafael Villanueva, Da'Vontae Everett, and Jay'Den Taylor-Everett passed away on January 24, 2010.  Because of the horror of that day, the Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department has teamed up with the Coast Guard, and some other agencies, and started a Water and Ice Safety program.

"We were hoping to [reach] about 5,000 kids on the first year, and we ended up doing 8,000 to 10,000 the first year.  The second year, we were able to do 12,000 to 13,000 kids.  Our main statement that we take to the schools is that NO ICE IS SAFE ICE, and then we train them on self-rescue techniques," Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Zimmerman told us.

Now, he says they share their message and demonstrations with adults, too.  They also now train others in the fire service and beyond to take the same program to their communities.

The tragedy of 3 years ago has also led to more equipment.

"Before January 24, 2010, we did not have boats, water rescue gear, ice equipment..." Chief Zimmerman told us.

Now, they, as well as other departments along the Sandusky River, are more equipped.

To hear remarkable stories of survival from residents of northwest Ohio who have fallen into ice, tune in to 13abc on Wednesday evening.

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