The Criado Tragedy: Emergency Response

By Bryan Navarro

MEDFORD, Ore. — One year ago, the lawn where the home of the Criados once stood might have looked like a scene of chaos, but first responders say it was absolutely organized.

The first call came in around 9:30; a report of a possible structure fire. Gordon Sletmoe of Medford Fire was first on scene and became incident commander.

“It went from a routine house fire to a major medical situation while the house was still on fire,” Sletmoe recalls.

Fire crews searched the inside, finding six subjects and it turned into a four-alarm fire. More than 50 people from more than a half-dozen agencies responded, working side by side.

“Teams clicked into action and started rendering medical aid,” Sletmoe says.

Fire crews pulled out Tabasha Paige-Criado, and her four children who were pronounced dead from a combination of smoke inhalation and stab wounds. The father, Jordan Criado, was alive and put in a medically induced coma. Police believed the home was also a crime scene.

“I don’t think you can ever plan for something like that,” says Chief George. “But you certainly train for it.”

Sletmoe says there was one lesson learned from the scene: West Tenth Street is narrow and there was some difficulty getting ambulances in and out.

“We know that in future training ambulance flow, we’ll train on ambulance flow. But we do that anyway,” Sletmoe states.

Fire and police officials commend the first responders from every agency, saying they did just as they were trained.

“I think people performed heroically did exactly as they were supposed to, and as best they could, and unfortunately they were just too late.” Chief George says.

Chief George also says it doesn’t feel like a year has passed and he says the criminal case is still far form over.