Nate Davenport, a 45-year-old Jupiter native and father of four, was fatally electrocuted when he attempted to pull two of his children and a friend’s child out of the Harbourside Place fountain, a shopping mall fountain located in Jupiter, Fla., on October 22, 2023.
Davenport and his friend Seth Kozak were sitting at the outside bar area of The Jupiter Grill, in view of the fountain, where three of Davenport's children and Kozak's child were playing.
Less than a minute of playing later, two of the boys appeared face down in the water. Davenport jumped in the water and immediately collapsed onto his back before he was able to help. Kozak tried to pull Davenport from the water, but was also shocked. Kozak then attempted to pull his son from the fountain and was shocked again, this time causing him to fall into the fountain. A child attempted to help Kozak but lurched back, shocked. Kozak was able to pull himself out and grab his son, who was still face down in the water. He began chest compressions on the boy.
A woman named Jennifer Fisler, who was having lunch nearby the fountain with her husband, heard screaming and raced to the scene. After her husband was unable to bear the shock of the fountain to grab Davenport, she raced to the back of the fountain and found the power breaker.
“I got the electric shut down," says Fisler. "My husband, with the assistance of the friend and the waitress from Jupiter, got Nate out of the water, and his friend immediately starting performing CPR."
The entire incident lasted four minutes.
Both the waitress and Davenport were rushed to Jupiter Medical Center. An hour after Davenport arrived at the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
Paramedics took the children to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. The children and waitress were later released from the hospital.
The fountain area of Harbourside Place is in the center of a children’s splashpad. A detailed list of “Harbourside fountain and splash pad rules” is located to the left of the fountain with “no swimming/climbing/diving” written at the top.
According to the police report, Tranquil Waterscapes has been identified as the company hired by Harbourside Place to maintain the fountain/splashpad and had last been to the location three days prior to the incident. The company told investigators that they brush, net and treat the water with chemicals, but they do not work on any electrical elements and that it is not part of their duties to inspect electrical components.
Investigators also tracked down the builders of the fountain and splashpad: Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas, based in Deerfield Beach. The company built the water feature for Harbourside 10 years ago, but the general manager said they haven’t done any work on the fountain in the past seven years because the warranty on the equipment had expired.
Following the police report, Harbourside Place released a statement to the public.
“We at Harbourside Place remain heartbroken over this tragic and unexpected loss of a part of our Harbourside family of consultants. Nate was a friend of Harbourside and was currently working with us on several projects. Our thoughts, prayers, and unwavering support continue to be with his family during this challenging time.”
Mark McFarland, a forensic electrical engineer with Discovery Engineering, provides consulting on civil and criminal cases nationwide. Asked by a local news channel, McFarland explained what might have caused the electrocution: “A ground fault, where there’s not a proper grounding and the electricity exit can’t find its way to ground, so it ends up either in the fountain or in a spot that people can get hurt,” McFarland said. “With these fountains and outdoor installations around water like swimming pools, there can be a risk of people getting hurt if it’s not installed correctly, installed to code. Sometimes there are modifications that are made, even maintenance, or people may be doing maintenance somewhere and may disturb something or disconnect something. A lot of different problems can happen, and there are codes, rules, that govern how these things are installed and maintained to keep everyone safe.”
This story was originally reported on by Service Industry News.