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Kent firefighters monitoring Cuyahoga River after 20 rescues in a week

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 18:03:13-04

KENT, Ohio — After nearly two dozen rescues in one week, Kent firefighters are monitoring the Cuyahoga River, as the water current is still above the average level.

Heavy rain across Northeast Ohio is leading to the higher-than-normal level and a faster current.

The fast and deep water lead to tree branches falling into the water, creating a chute near West Main Street, which is where everybody is getting stuck.

"You are not going to beat the water. The water is going to be relentless. It’s not going to let up," said Kent firefighter Shawn Baynes. "If you get caught in the strainer and you get caught in your kayak, it’s going to want to squeeze you through all of that stuff like a strainer."

Baynes said the water level is not going down anytime soon, and while there are no signs telling people to stay out of the river, he is begging people to stay out.

James McNea was kayaking for the first time over the weekend and was pulled to safety in the nick of time by the Portage County Water Rescue Team.

"I’m thankful that they were there for helping. It wasn’t a very good experience for my first time kayaking," McNea said.

Portage County officials are warning you to stay out of the water until further notice.