As the Criado family murder case enters its next phase in the offices of Jackson County lawyers and courtrooms, the emergency responders who experienced the chaos of that day are ready to ask tough questions about how they can improve should a similar tragedy strike again.
The Medford Fire Department recently called a meeting with all of the personnel who responded to the fire and murder scene to examine the day in minute detail.
The goal was to find where things worked well among the many firefighters, dispatch communicators and ambulance crews at the scene and where things could have run more effectively, said Medford Fire Department Training Chief Justin Bates.
"Any time we have a major fire we gather together a few weeks after to listen to the dispatch tapes," Bates said. "We want to listen to the whole event unfold again and discuss it among those who where there."
Bates said fire crews from across the county often work closely with each other during large responses such as house and grass fires.
"We do a good job pooling our resources together to make sure our areas are covered," Bates said. "This time was not different."
One area that Bates said could have been improved in the Criado case was that jurisdictions could coordinate with each other over radio language that could help communication between organizations.
"It could be helpful if we spoke similar language on the radio," Bates said. "That was something we looked at. It was not a major issue, but it's something we can work on."
Overall, Bates said the Medford Fire Department, Jackson County Fire District Nos. 3 and 5 and Mercy Flights ambulances did a good job gaining control of the fire and attempting to save the lives of the Criado family inside the structure.
Jordan Criado is accused of killing his 30-year-old wife, Tabasha Paige-Criado, and children Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2, then lighting their Medford home on fire on July 18.
Paige-Criado died of stab wounds to the neck and abdomen, autopsy results showed. Andrew and Isaac died of stab wounds to the neck and probable carbon monoxide poisoning from the arson fire. Elijah and Aurora probably died from carbon monoxide poisoning, which will be determined through pending toxicology tests.
The numerous victims taxed Mercy Flights to its limit, forcing the fire districts to cut loose their ambulances to cover other medical calls in Medford, Bates said.
"This is the first time all of the Mercy Flights ambulances were in use at one time," Bates said. "We did a good job managing that. Just because we have a large fire at one place with several victims doesn't mean medical calls throughout the city stop."
The Medford Police Department also looks to learn lessons about its services from the Criado murders, said Chief Tim George.
"In this business, if you are not constantly learning, you are not doing your job," George said. "We always look back at our major cases and wonder what we could do to be better."
One area he said the department could improve on is following up with officers who were on the scene that may have been affected by handling a breaking murder involving a family.
"We should work harder to follow up with these people to see if they have needs that aren't being met," George said. "If they need counseling and someone to talk to about what they experienced."
George would not comment on what the department's homicide investigators could learn from the case.
"We play that close to our vests because we don't want to make our tactics known to criminals," George said. "But be sure, we are learning things from this murder case that will make us better investigators."
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email email@example.com.