Local News

Simple Safety Measures May Have Prevented Fayetteville Drowning

Posted June 9, 2003

— She drowned in a neighbor's pool. Now, her parents are talking about the little girl they lost -- in part because some simple safety measures were not in place, and other pools could pose the same risks.

The pool is about 40 yards from where the little girl lived. On the surface, it looks like the neighbor's backyard is a great place to take a swim. But it's what the yard didn't have that may have cost 2-year-old Camari Porter her life.

Porter and her big brother were excited Sunday about playing outside with their water guns. While their mother, Monique, stayed inside to put her shoes on, Camari disappeared from their front yard.

"I said she couldn't just vanish," Monique said, "So where did she go?"

Monique and the neighbors searched for about 40 minutes before they found the little girl in the pool in the yard behind their house.

"I never thought to look in the pool because I never saw anyone swim in it," Monique said.

Monique said Camari had never shown interest in the pool before.

What makes Camari's death even more difficult to cope with is that the pool violates a city ordinance. It should have had at least a three-foot fence around it.

"I just hate for this to happen to my daughter to find out there was supposed to be a locked gate," said Camari's father, Carmartrus.

City inspectors don't go out and check every pool. Homeowners are told about the fence law when they apply for a permit.

Back in 2001, state lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would regulate pool safety standards statewide. It would've required fences around all residential pools to be at least four feet tall. The bill never went anywhere, so, for now, local governments set the standards.

Now, the owner of the pool must immediately put up a fence or pay a $100-a-day fine.

It is too late, though, for the Porters. Their precious little girl, who loved popsicles and dancing, is gone.

"She was my heart," Monique said, "my little girl."

Camari's mother said her daughter may have thought the pool was a big bathtub. Camari had taken off all her clothes before she got in.

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