Firefighters warn about dangerously cold water ahead of warm wea - KPTV - FOX 12

Firefighters warn about dangerously cold water ahead of warm weather

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GLADSTONE, OR (KPTV) -

Firefighters are warning about water conditions after a Portland man drowned in the Clackamas River Sunday afternoon.

The water is extremely cold and the current is much stronger than swimmers will encounter in the summer.

Jeffrey Fleshler, 21, drowned at High Rocks Park on the Clackamas River.

Gladstone Fire Lt. Kirk Stempel , who commanded the dive team searching for Fleshler, said the young man was only in the water for a short time before he began struggling.

Stempel said he is worried about potential drowning because more warm weather is expected later this week.

While temperatures will heat up, the water will stay extremely cold.

“People are jumping in the water. They’re going to have cold water shock. They’re going to be aspirating water. It makes us nervous,” he said.

The Clackamas Fire Department was practicing rescues on the river Monday morning.

The water at High Rocks is three to four feet higher than it is in the summer and the current is much stronger than swimmers are used to, said Dustin Mauck.

“When you start swimming, you’re getting tired,” he said. “Halfway through you get cold and this current is going to keep you where you can’t get off on the shore. It’s going to suck you down.”

Firefighters warn people to stay out of the water, but if you plan to go in or near the water, wear a life jacket.

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