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July 8, 2000

It happened again Friday: Another Phoenix child wandered into a swimming pool and drowned.

Tyren Hudson, 2 1/2, is the second child to drown in Phoenix this week and the 10th this year.

Fire officials say they are barreling toward a record they don't want to reach.

''We are just getting slammed this year,'' Deputy Chief Bob Khan said.

Tyren was at his home in the 3600 block of North 60th Drive when he slipped away from a group of people and out the back door, Battalion Chief Terry Shields said.

As many as 15 minutes ticked by.

''He was in the water for probably that long,'' Shields said.

The pool wasn't fenced.

On Wednesday, a 4-year-old boy drowned after he breached a pool gate that fire officials believe wasn't latching properly.

The last time so many children drowned in one year was in 1996, when 10 children died all year. But Khan said the city is on pace to match or surpass the number of drownings recorded in 1991, when 14 children died.

The city's record: Sixteen children died in 1989, the year Phoenix kicked off its ''Just a Few Seconds'' campaign to prevent such tragedies.

Five children drowned in Phoenix last year.

''Kids are naturally drawn to water,'' Khan said. ''If there's no barrier or the barrier doesn't work, a child is going to find that pool.''

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By Judi Villa, The Arizona Republic
©Copyright 2000 Arizona Republic

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