By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A St. Paul Apartment complex has started to fill in an unused pool where two young boys nearly drowned.

The city of St. Paul ordered the owner of the complex to have the issue fixed by June 3. The order comes after two boys were found in the bottom of the pool on Memorial Day.

Police say the young brother tried to grab a flip-flop from the pool and fell in. His older brother jumped in to try and save him.

That’s right crews have been busy preparing the fill this empty space in. It’s something the owner wanted to do to make sure the children in this complex can play without worry.

The sound of a jack hammer ripping through concrete could be heard for blocks. Workers were busy preparing the unused pool inside the Princeton Place apartment complex to be filled in.

“We will actually put top soil on top and our goal at the end of this is to build a playground so there are positive things for the children to do,” said Jennifer Thomas, the property manager.

Residents looking at the progress say this has been a long time coming.

“Makes me feel better that they its actually going to happen now that they are doing something so I heard they been fixing it for years,” said one resident.

Samir Properties bought the complex in 2013. Residents say things have improved for the better, but they all knew the empty pool filled with filthy rainwater would continue to be a problem.

“I knew this was going to happen eventually and I kept trying to pull the kids off of there for him,” said Greg Rassett.

Rasset says for the seven years he’s lived here it’s been a fight to keep kids away from the fence and the unused pool.

“This is the one time I wasn’t out there to help to keep them out of there and I feel so bad,” Rassett said.

Police say 7 year old Sher Kpaw tried to grab a flip flop from the pool and fell in. His 10 year old brother Ma Kpaw jumped in and tried to save him. The younger brother is still in the hospital.

“He’s very concerned it weights very heavily on him,” said Thomas.

Property Manager Jennifer Thomas says the owner is doing more than the City of St. Paul says he has to.

“Clear all drains of the pool and prevent any standing water,” said Thomas.

Crews will fill the pool and remove the fence in hopes of preventing another tragedy. The Property owner wanted to fill the pool with concrete but chose to use dirt in order to get it done quickly.

To help keep this from happening again, St. Paul’s fire Marshall is visiting all 84 pools in the city, to make sure there are none that could be considered a safety risk.

The Minnesota Department of Health oversees pools but that didn’t happen until 2013, the same year the property was bought. The last time the pool was inspected was 1996, and its license was cancelled. New oversight now means more checks of pools state wide.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for a playground inside the complex.

Reg Chapman

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