Five individuals, including three children, were transported to nearby hospitals, while three others received treatment following a potential electrical shock incident that occurred on Sunday afternoon within the fountain area at Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Florida.
Initially reported as a possible drowning, the incident took place at 149 Soundings Ave at approximately 3:33 p.m. Prompt 911 callers informed authorities that a child had entered the fountains and subsequently experienced distress. Upon the arrival of Jupiter officers and several bystanders rendering aid, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue personnel quickly assessed the situation, identifying multiple patients in need of evaluation for potential injuries.
Spokesman Capt. Tom Reyes, who was present at the scene, stated, “Evidently, somebody had gone into the water and started having some distress. Some other people went into to try to remove them from the water. It appears as though there may have been an electrocution in the water itself.” This revelation pointed towards a potentially dangerous situation involving electrocution.
The gravity of the incident led fire-rescue personnel to categorize it as a mass casualty event, which is defined by the presence of five to nine patients requiring hospitalization, prompting hospitals to be notified and additional units to be dispatched. Due to the cardiac distress experienced by the three children, they were immediately transported to a trauma center for specialized care.
The fountain area at Harbourside Place was cordoned off with yellow tape as authorities worked to secure the scene. Florida Power & Light personnel were summoned to ensure the power was shut off, thereby mitigating any potential electrical hazards.
As of now, the conditions of the patients remain unknown. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue refrains from disclosing patient conditions due to privacy regulations, and the Jupiter Police Department has yet to provide an update on their status. Capt. Reyes emphasized the rarity of encountering both a possible drowning and an electrocution simultaneously, noting that different protocols are in place for each scenario and that the situation warranted a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) response.
Coincidentally, over the weekend, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue hosted an Initial Company Operations Class for Surface Water Rescue, specifically training in the Boynton Inlet’s robust currents. Additionally, dive training exercises were conducted at the Port of Palm Beach, highlighting the department’s commitment to preparedness and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in aquatic environments.
The investigation into this distressing incident is ongoing, and authorities are working diligently to determine the cause of the potential electrocution and prevent any future occurrences.