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December 5, 2000

Wintertime drownings and near-drownings of Phoenix children have nearly doubled in the past two years, panicking city rescue crews.

"It is crazy all of a sudden," Deputy Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Kahn said. "It happens so fast. We can't lose our focus with kids in the wintertime."

On Monday, three toddlers were pulled from two backyard pools within five hours and a few blocks of each other. Neither pool, both in the area of 63rd Avenue and Indian School Road, had a fence, and both households had several children. All three victims were at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center on Monday night.

"No barrier, multiple children, and warm weather, and something bad can happen," Kahn said.

About 11 a.m., Monday, Isaiah Johnson, and his cousin, Michexe McAfee, both 13 months, were pulled from the pool near 65th and Roma avenues by an adult woman,. The children were in the water about three minutes, but both responded to CPR. Both are in fair condition. It is unclear how the boys got into the pool.

Five hours later, Teron Jacobs, 16 months, slipped out of an arcadia door and into the pool near 63rd Avenue and Indian School Road. Few details were available. Teron is in critical condition.

In the past two years, the number of wintertime drownings or near-drownings has jumped from three a month to six. The summer time average is 10 to 14 water incidents per month,

Kahn said many of the winter drownings and near-drownings have been in the West Valley where there are many '70s-style homes built before a 1989 Phoenix ordinance requiring fenced pools in homes with young children.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By Carol Sowers, The Arizona Republic
©Copyright 2000 Arizona Republic

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