Narragansett Fire Chief: Stay away from the shoreline during Jose

(File)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – Waves crashing over the jetties in Narragansett are bringing surfers and a lot of sightseers to the ocean’s edge, but officials are warning that storm surge could get dangerous and people should remain a safe distance from the shore.

“This is fabulous,” said Butch Amaral from Taunton, who was watching the big waves from Point Judith Lighthouse. His scuba plans on a charter boat had been cancelled because of the rough surf.

Steve Depozzo from West Greenwich brought his binoculars to watch the sea churning.

“It’s the power of nature,” he said. “Came down to watch the waves, watch the surfers, have some clam cakes and chowder.”

Narragansett Fire Chief and EMA Director Scott Partington is warning those very bystanders to stay a far distance from the shoreline as Jose creeps closer.

“What we’re really concerned about are the bystanders, the onlookers who come down the shoreline and navigate across the rocks,” he said. “There won’t be much of a beach left, a lot of it will be underwater.”

Five people were swept into the water while standing on the jetty at Camp Cronin on Sunday. Partington says they had to be rescued, putting first responders in danger.

“We had to assist them to the rocks, and then try and tend to their injuries while on the rocks and waves crashing upon the first responders who were there,” he said. One firefighter injured his leg while pulling one of the victims out of the water, Partington said.

Meanwhile, surfers flocked toward the sea on Monday, taking advantage of the big swells.

“The winds build waves,” said Roger Crossland, who drove from Fairfield, Ct. He’s been surfing for decades, and said you can never underestimate the surf during a storm.

“The sea will humble you,” he said. “You can be the best at anything, and when the sea is up to its full strength, you haven’t got a chance if you’re doing the wrong thing.”

Partington said he’s not too concerned about keeping surfers out of the water, because they typically know their own limits.

“The more advanced surfers tend to come out in these waves, and we’re not as much worried about them,” he said. “They tend to be able to take care of themselves.”

But he warned against less experienced surfers getting in the water, along with swimmers and other sightseers getting too close to the shoreline.

“Please stay off the rocks,” he said,

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