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GILBERT GIRL WANDERS OFF, DROWNS IN NEIGHBOR'S POOL

7/09/98

Byline: By Judi Villa, The Arizona Republic

An 18-month-old Gilbert girl fell into a neighbor's swimming pool and drowned Wednesday while her family packed for a summer vacation.

Victoria Smith apparently wandered away through an open garage door and somehow got into a neighbor's fenced yard, said Wes Kemp, Gilbert Fire Department spokesman.

''What we're used to seeing is where they get out into their own back yard and into their own pool,'' Kemp said. ''To see this in a neighbor's yard, it's even harder to understand or accept.''

How Victoria got into the neighbor's yard and the pool isn't known. Victoria's family, who lives in the 400 block of East Princeton Avenue, does not have a swimming pool.

Bill and Kim Smith discovered their daughter missing around 6 p.m. and began pounding on neighbors' doors.

After one neighbor checked a yard and screamed, Bill Smith tore a gate off its hinges and pulled his daughter from the pool. Kim Smith performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the girl until firefighters arrived.

Victoria was taken to Desert Samaritan Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

''It's something you wouldn't normally expect, for it to occur in your own yard, let alone someone else's,'' Kemp said. ''It's unbelievable what's happening here.''

Victoria was the fourth Gilbert child to drown this year.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
©Copyright 1999 Arizona Republic

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