Elderly man, caregiver die after bed catches fire

Man in his 80s, caregiver in his 20s died from smoke inhalation

Two people died in a house fire in Molalla on Thursday morning, May 19 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fire took the lives of an elderly man and his caregiver overnight in a home on a rural stretch of Leabo Road, south of Molalla.

The fire was confined to a bed in the home, but it created a lot of smoke that may have been what killed the men.

Two people died in a house fire in Molalla on Thursday morning, May 19 2016. (KOIN)
Two people died in a house fire in Molalla on Thursday morning, May 19 2016. (KOIN)

Denise Everhart with the Molalla Fire Department said there were smoke alarms in the house, but it’s unknown if they were functioning.

One neighbor said the elderly man, identified as Philip Ross, 88, was a private person. They didn’t know he had a private caregiver, but said they had helped in out in the past, and given him Christmas cookies before. “I feel so bad that anybody would be alone like that,” the neighbor said.

The Molalla fire department confirmed that the fire started in a bed, and Ross was able to get out of his room and crawled toward the bathroom, but the caregiver didn’t make it to a door. The fire extinguished itself.

The two men were found by the morning caregiver, who arrived for work Thursday morning and called 911.

The caregiver, 26-year-old Joshua McGraw, was described by family friend Shanon Millican-Sage as kind and caring. “It hurts. I was crying earlier,” she said. “It hasn’t totally hit me but it will.”

Another caregiver, Tim Hancock, is proud that his friend wanted to do a job that mattered. “He went out and grabbed that position and didn’t brag about it, he just did it,” Hancock said. “He went out to take care of a senior, and I’ll be proud of that forever,”

“He was just really a great kid,” Millican-Sage said.

 

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