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Firefighters warn about dangers of Spokane River

Firefighters warn about dangers of...

SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighters are issuing a warning about flooding levels on the Spokane River, telling residents to stay out and stay away.

The river is nearing flood stage and covering parts of the Centennial Trail on Upriver Drive. It's running fast and extremely cold.

Residents who live near the trail say it's unlike anything they've ever seen. Some, though, say they're enjoying the break from the ordinary.

"As long as it's not hurting nobody and causing no damage, it's got a neatness to it," said Joe Esposito, who lives across the street from a flooded section of the trail.

It may be cool to look at, but the Spokane Fire Department says the river is extremely dangerous right now. Yesterday, several people tried to canoe in the river, and quickly found themselves in the water. They all made it to shore, but the situation could have ended much worse.

So. the fire department is offering tips to keep you and your family safe.

First, don't let your children near the water. Even a shallow current can knock someone off their feet and drag them downstream quickly.

Second, stay away from barricaded areas. The fire department says any part of Centennial Trail covered in water is considered closed.

Third, be aware of large debris in the river, which poses even more of a threat to people.

Finally, if you are near the water and something happens, call 911 immediately. A bad situation in the water can quickly turn into a life-threatening emergency.

The temperature of the river is extremely cold right now. Water this cold can send your body into shock and cause cardiac arrest. Most people only survive around an hour in water colder than 50 degrees.


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