Long Beach Says Pools Threaten Public Safety

Shirley Steen's family shared many happy times around the backyard pool in Long Beach. Now the pool and the house slab are the only things left. Steen says she's not rebuilding, so the city can do whatever it wants to secure the pool.

"I am thrilled. It's something I don't have to do, so that's wonderful. I'm thrilled that the city will fill it in instead of me doing it," she says.

But Mayor Billy Skellie says some people don't feel the same way. He's heard complaints about the city's order for citizens to fill or fence their pools. But the mayor says they don't want someone to get hurt.

"We don't want to create any more hardship on our citizens than they've already experienced. It's just a safety issue that's going to have to be addressed. We know people are stressed about their losses and still dealing with insurance companies and we don't want to make it harder," Skellie says.

Skellie says that's why the February 6th deadline is flexible.

"I doubt very seriously there's going to be dump trucks out there finding all pools and filling them up at one time. I think we're going to work with people. They just need to know that something's going to have to be done about them and we have to notify them."

The mayor says with school out in just a few months, empty pools and kids could be a dangerous mix.

"The pool being unsecured is just a real inviting place for a child to get in and we don't need anymore Katrina victims."

WLOX checked with four other coast cities and none of them are taking the same precautions at this time.