A tragedy struck a west Medford family this morning when what appeared to be four children and two adults were found unconscious, suffering from extreme smoke inhalation.
Firefighters scrambled to perform CPR on the family in the front yard of 1027 W. Tenth St. as smoke continued to pour out of the house.
None of the family members appeared to regain consciousness as they were transported to local hospitals.
“When I first saw it, all I could do was cry,” said Jennifer Backes, a 37-year-old neighbor as she looked at the dozens of firefighters and police frantically trying to save lives.
Neighbors reported that no flames appeared to be coming from the house, speculating that a faulty chimney might have allowed smoke into the house.
Calvin Kennedy, a 64-year-old neighbor, said he approached the house, seeing smoke coming up under the chimney area but no flames.
“I knocked on the door three or four times, then I called the fire department,” he said.
Kennedy said he didn't hear any sounds from a smoke detector.
As he watched the emergency crews working on the family, he said, “I just hope they're alright.”
Gloria Oliva said she knew the family, but was too emotional to remember any of their names.
“I would never expect to see this,” said the 40-year-old neighbor. “They're really in bad shape.”
Looking on at one young boy being loaded into an ambulance, she said, “He's still not moving.”
-- Damian Mann