West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke: “This is a sad day for West Fargo"


An emergency call in to Red River Regional Dispatch at 3:58 p.m. sent firefighters, first responders and law enforcement to a stormwater retention pond, located just behind West Fargo just behind the city’s south fire station, and it ended with the recovery of a body just a few hours later.

“We believe this to be an accidental drowning,” West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke said in a small news conference at the site of the accident. “This is a sad day for West Fargo.”

According to West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller, firefighters were on scene within 90 seconds of the call, and a firefighter was in the water within a minute of being on scene. Fuller said that the boy was under the water when the firefighters got on scene.

The fire department put four rescue swimmers in the water, but were unable to find the victim.

The rescue effort was called off at 5 p.m., and those gathered began going into recovery mode.

At 6:58 p.m., Valley Water Rescue located the body of a child at the bottom of the pond, in approximately 12 feet of water.

“The fact that it is deeper water in the middle of the retention pond made it a challenge,” Fuller said.

A short time later, the body of the child was recovered from the water and transported off-site by F-M Ambulance.

Cass County Sheriff’s Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, City of West Fargo Public Works and the Salvation Army were also on scene to provide assistance.

The incident is an ongoing investigation. Details regarding the victim will not be released.