A 5-year-old girl who suffered severe burns after a fire at the Cedar Tree Apartments in east Medford Nov. 2 died over the weekend.
Olivia Chapman, born Jan. 30, 2013, had endured heart and lung problems from the fire, according to the Facebook page of her mother, Trish Ellsworth.
“I’d give literally anything to have this back,” Ellsworth wrote on her Facebook page next to a photo of her two daughters.
Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau confirmed, “The little girl passed away at a Portland hospital.”
According to a gofundme.com site, which had raised $2,660 as of Wednesday toward a goal of $15,000, Olivia had been placed on life support Saturday after her heart almost stopped. To go to the site: https://www.gofundme.com/helping-child-burn-victims-in-or
Olivia was the most severely injured of the four children hurt during the fire.
Firefighters found Olivia unconscious with burns over much of her body, and they also found her 3-year-old sister hiding under a bed. The girls’ mother made it out without injury.
Another father was forced to drop his two children from a second-story balcony, where a firefighter caught them without injury. The father jumped from the balcony and injured his leg.
By the time Medford Fire-Rescue and other local fire departments arrived, the blaze had blocked the stairwell exit for both apartments.
In a strange twist, another woman, who lived in the apartment where the fire started, was struck by a 1998 Toyota Camry while she crossed South Pacific Highway near Lowry Lane the night before the fire. Tonya Kaylee Johnson, 51, is still listed in serious condition and hasn’t been interviewed by police, Budreau said.
“Her injuries are pretty extensive,” he said.
Johnson appeared to have run out in front of the car for some unknown reason, he said.
She was struck at 9 p.m. Thursday, nine hours before the fire was reported at 5:35 a.m. Friday.
“It’s most likely accidental,” Budreau said. Fire investigators thought possible causes for the fire could include a cigarette or an unattended candle.
Two students at St. Mary’s School organized the gofundme site for Olivia because Bruce Chapman, a relative, worked as a custodian at the school.
Seniors Corin Elmore and Kalen Gibbs decided to do something for the family because Chapman is such a well-respected person at the school, according to Principal Jim Meyer.
“They wanted to do something positive,” he said. “It’s a tragic situation.”