South Fla. boy electrocuted by pool light while swimming

By Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 18 2014 11:03:59 AM EDT
Updated On: Apr 17 2014 11:00:00 PM EDT

There's an important safety alert for parents after a 7-year-old boy was electrocuted while swimming in a backyard pool.

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. -

A 7-year old boy is dead after he was electrocuted by the light in his family pool.

Calder Sloan was killed Sunday not long after he jumped into the water to race a family friend across the pool.

"This was always a place of happiness and joy, and lots of activity," said the boy's father, Chris Sloan.

Thursday was the first time Sloan has been back to his house since his son died. He spoke Thursday in the backyard on the edge of the pool where Calder took his last breaths.

"The world is a worse place because we're not going to get to realize the potential of what Calder Jacob Sloan was capable of," Sloan said.

Calder Sloan loved the water. Fish envied him, his dad said, because he was a better swimmer. He was ready Sunday to get back in the pool. It was the first time anyone had been in it in months.

Calder challenged a family friend to race to the other side, but soon after they jumped in, the friend felt a tingle and quickly got out of the water, but Calder kept swimming, right toward the pool light.

"Somehow he was shocked by that, started shaking and as we understand it, he went into some form of unconsciousness," Sloan said.

A nanny was watching the boys at the time. Her adult son pulled Calder out the water and they called 911. Neighbor Fabian Pesantes was alerted to the commotion, rushed down and started CPR.

"As I was touching the water, to wipe off my mouth, I was getting zapped," said Pesantes. "As I was performing CPR on the boy I was getting zapped."

The medical examiner said Calder was electrocuted and it appears the pool light is to blame. According to an electrical contractor who inspected the equipment afterward, one of the ground wires connecting to the pool switch to the transformer wasn't attached, and that sent 120 volts of electricity to the pool light, instead of the normal 12.

WATCH: 

Video

Important lesson in pool safety

The family of a boy who was electrocuted by swimming in a pool hopes their story will be an important lesson for all.

It appeared that strong current accelerated the corrosion of the steel that encased the light. Eventually water seeped in and turned the pool into a electrically charged body of water.

"That was a time bomb, that was a killer waiting to take somebody, and the sweetest boy in the world drew the unlucky straw, which resulted in his death," Sloan said.

Although it appears the light was wired incorrectly when it was worked on recently, experts said corrosion from South Florida's salty environment can also cause loose or broken connections on electrical equipment.

Ed Weidlich, chief electrical inspector for the city of Hollywood, said it's important pool owners routinely check their equipment.

"I would say (look for) large amounts of corrosion, or broken conduits, loose fittings, anything that would pertain to the age of a pool," Weidlich said.

Weidlich said it's important that homeowners only look at their equipment and not try to do any electrical repairs themselves. The current flowing though a homes electrical breakers and pool equipment is dangerous, should only be worked on by a license electrician, and it should not cost you a fortune to hire one.

"No, I would think that it would be under $300 to $400, but let's face it, life safety is your primary concern, the protection of life and property, so it's hard to put a cost on that that," Weidlich said.

"Four-hundred dollars? How about $400 million? I would give $400 million to hold this boy again," Sloan said.

The family has opened a memorial fund at the Lehrman Community Day School where Calder attended school.

To make a donation to the Calder Jacob Sloan Legacy Fund:

Make checks out to:
Lehrman Community Day School
memo: Calder J Sloan Legacy Fund

Address:
Lehrman Community Day School
727 77th St
Miami Beach, FL 33141
Attn: Jodi Bruce, Head of School

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