As warm-up looms, thinning ice becomes real danger

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The cold snap has frozen plenty of bodies of water around the Tri-State. But, with a warm-up ahead this week, the ice that's nice and thick now can quickly become a real danger.

In fact, a 9-year old Franklin Township boy died after falling through ice in a pond over the weekend. 

When the ice starts melting from this frigid weather, first responders are urging common sense if you do plan on heading out for some winter fun.

"Any chance I get, I come down here. Whenever it's frozen, it's game time for me," said Grant Roehr who was playing hockey on Mirror Lake in Eden Park on Tuesday.

Roehr has a hockey background and has plenty of skating experience, but he knows with this slight warm-up in sight, you've got to be a little more careful.

"I came out here and I walked on it before I actually put my skates on and skated out in the middle. It's really all a judgement call," said Roehr.

In talking to some skaters on Tuesday, they say it's all about feeling comfortable before you ever get on the ice. You want to look for things like cracks in the ice. You might even want to put some pressure on the ice, maybe even stand on it if you do feel comfortable before you start skating.

"You've got to see how the ice feels. If it cracks, you should stay off of it. If you start hearing noises on it, that's usually not a good sign," said Brad Bowers, a UC student skating at Mirror Lake.

Firefighters in Colerain Township train for ice rescue situations. They know they'll get calls for some of those rescues as the ice thaws out this week. But, they're hoping a small piece of advice will keep that from happening to you.

"The best way to test it, I think, is you drill, you measure it and then you do it in several different areas you're going out," said Capt. Steve Conn of the Colerain Fire Department.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a judgment call.

"Please, if you have any doubts at all, don't go out on the ice," Conn told FOX19.

Conn recommends ice be about 2-3 inches thick, ideally about 4 inches thick before taking the ice.  If you do go out over the next few days, you'll also want to look for areas that are thawing and stay away from things sticking out of the ice like docks, and fountains. As they heat up with the sun, the ice will melt around them.

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