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Previous story Mother and son who's brothers died in fire upgraded to serious Next story

Published on Tuesday February 15, 2011 - 11:09 AM
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A toddler whose mother dropped him from a burning upstairs aprtment unit was upgraded from critical to serious condition, hospital officials said.

Flames blocked an exit trapping three boys and their 24-year-old mother, Kimberly Hasty.

It was a heartbreaking tragedy that occurred Saturday morning (Feb. 12) when a deadly fire erupted in an Oak Grove apartment -- killing two young brothers and sending their younger infant brother and mother to a Portland hospital.

At 9:33 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, Clackamas County Communications (C-COM) 911 dispatchers received a call from a neighboring citizen reporting smoke coming from a building in the Fox Pointe Apartment complex, located at 4616 SE Roethe Rd. in Oak Grove.

Clackamas Fire District #1 responded swiftly to the scene -- and met a woman frantically telling rescuers that two of her children were still inside the smoke-filled upper-level apartment.

Clackamas Fire personnel quickly moved with a hose into the apartment -- which was overflowing with thick black smoke and generating intense heat -- and searched for the occupants.

These firefighters located the two young boys inside the apartment and brought them out of the smoke-filled residence. Rescue personnel were unable to revive the two children, who died at the scene.

A second alarm was activated by Clackamas Fire District #1 -- summoning a total of 8 fire engines and 2 trucks to the scene of this multiple-unit apartment complex.

The mother of the two deceased children was transported from the scene, accompanied by her infant child. Both mother and infant were seriously injured in the blaze.

Moments before firefighters arrived, a witness reported seeing the mother drop her infant child out of the second-story apartment window into the arms a person standing below. The mother then followed, leaping from the same window, which was described to be gushing out thick black smoke.

TriMet provided a bus as a warm shelter for many of the neighbors evacuated during the two-alarm fire.

The American Red Cross also came to assist as many as 10 residents displaced due to the fire.

Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) volunteers also responded to the scene to assist with the emotional upheaval surrounding this event.

Fire-investigation protocol dictates agency cooperation when a fire results in a death. As a result, investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Clackamas Fire, Oregon State Police and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office will be working jointly to examine this deadly fire.

A Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney is also assisting investigators, and the Clackamas County Deputy Medical Examiner has also responded to the scene.

Steve McAdoo, the spokesperson for Clackamas Fire District #1, said about the sad events: "This is another harsh reminder of how fragile and precious human lives really are. We all need to help ensure the safety of our loved ones with smoke detectors. Smoke detectors save lives."

Fire investigators expected to be on the scene throughout the weekend. The involved apartment -- plus the three adjoining apartments -- have no electrical power. This apartment quad will require all occupants to be displaced during the course of the investigation.

On Sunday, Feb. 13, fire investigators returned to the scene of the Saturday-morning apartment fire.

A forensic autopsy of the deceased young boys was scheduled for Sunday morning (Feb. 13) at 9 a.m. at the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office in Clackamas.

Family notifications have been extensive, requiring a great deal of extra effort by the Clackamas County Medical Examiner to track down at least one out-of-state relative late Saturday night (Feb. 12).

Hospital officials report that the mother remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition. She has been transferred to the Oregon Burn Center.

Her 1-year-old child -- who was dropped to safety from the blazing upper-level apartment window -- is reportedly in the pediatric intensive care unit in critical condition. However, it is also expected this child will be moved later in the day (Sunday, Feb. 13) to the Oregon Burn Center.

Fire investigators expected to accomplish the following on Sunday: Thoroughly photographing and videotaping the fire scene.

Obtaining exact measurements of the scene.

Digging and sifting of debris for evidence.

Identifying the point of origin of this deadly fire.

One of the big questions fire investigators are eager to answer is this: How did this deadly fire ignite so quickly and with such intense heat?

Arrangements were made to have an experienced fire investigator available to meet with media at the scene today (Sunday, Feb. 13) at 1 p.m. This fire investigator can describe (from personal experience) the process of a fire investigation.

UPDATE: Feb. 13, 2011, 2:09 p.m. -- Investigators on-scene reportedly made considerable progress examining the charred remains at the scene of a fatal apartment fire for evidence. Investigators are hopeful this phase of the investigative process will be completed later Sunday.

The identities of the two children who perished in the fire, their surviving mother, and infant brother can now be identified:

The mother is Kimberly Hasty, 24, who resided in the apartment with her three male children. The address of the burned apartment is 4616 SE Roethe Road, H-60, in Oak Grove. Kimberly Hasty remains in stable, critical condition at the Oregon Burn Center in Portland.

The surviving hospitalized infant boy is identified as Wani Lemi, age 1 (soon to be 2). Wani Lemi remains hospitalized in stable critical condition in the pediatric ward, and should be transferred to the Oregon Burn Center very soon.

Ladu Lemi, age 4, died at the scene of the apartment fire.

Appolo Lemi, age 5, also perished in the fire. Appolo Lemi was a student attending Concord Elementary School in Oak Grove. North Clackamas School District officials have been preparing to help students and teachers with the emotional needs anticipated at the Concord Elementary.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office has completed forensic autopsies today on both Ladu and Appolo Lemi. Dr. Chris Young reports to fire investigators that the boys died of smoke inhalation.