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Help arrives over 1,000 miles away after Branford 10-year-old dies in drainage pipe

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BRANFORD -- It's a situation no community is ever ready for.

Early Friday afternoon, the Branford emergency call center received a frantic call from a boy saying his brother had fallen into the Branford river. That boy later died, sending shock waves through the community.

"This is again is a very tragic event. The loss of a young member of our community goes without question," said Captain Geoff Morgan of the Branford Police Department.

Now, someone over 1,000 miles away, in Iowa, wants to lend a helping hand.

Mark Blake runs Project Storm Drain Safety, a non-profit organization aimed at spreading education about the dangers of high water storm drainage.

"You look into a drain, if you can't see the light in it, it needs protection," said Blake.

His organization teaches safety measures to parents and teachers around the country. He also speaks to town officials in order to provide them with plans on how to effectively cover a drainage pipe.

It's a mission he has a personal connection with. Blake's own son fell into a drainage pipe in 2014 and died several hours later after a major search.

"Not knowing where he was for 20 hours just about did me in. We just almost couldn't take it," said Blake.

FOX61 spoke to Branford's First Selectman who told us there are no efforts in the works for covering up the drainage pipe. Blake and several emergency responders say the best thing to do is promote safety.

"These things are dangerous and we're going to keep working to make them safer," said Blake.

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