4 children die in Oregon house fire; 2 adults, 1 teen seriously injured

RIDDLE, Ore. - Four children died in a house fire early Wednesday morning in Riddle, a small community south of Roseburg, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said.

Two adults and a teen suffered serious injuries. They are being treated at Legacy Emanual in Portland.

"It was horrible last night," neighbor Marianne Walker said. "I had just fallen asleep. I looked out and - big flames. I said, 'Oh my God, I hope they got out of there'."

The sheriff's office identified the deceased as:

  • Gwendolyn Howell, 4
  • Haley Maher, 7
  • Isaiah Young, 10
  • Nicholas Lowe, 13

The serious injured adults are James Keith Howell, 39; and Tabitha Annette Howell, 38.

Medics also transported Andrew Hall-Young, 13, to the hospital in Portland.

The sheriff's office said next of kin were notified before the names of the victims were released.

The Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office and the Arson Investigation Unit of the Oregon State Police responded to help the sheriff's office with the investigation.

Family described as "really good neighbors"

Riddle is a small town off Interstate 5. The population is 1,185, according to the most recent Census.

Firefighters got the call around 2 a.m. Both the Riddle and Tri-City fire departments responded.

Before they arrived, Walker said neighbors rushed to help the family.

"I saw a neighbor run across the street to help," she said.

Firefighters arrived to battle the fire - and try to save lives.

"They brought some of them out," Walker said. "They were trading off doing CPR on them for at least an hour."

Walker described the family as "really good neighbors" who moved in about 6 years ago and attended the Open Bible Christian Center in Riddle.

Dan Jocoy, pastor at Tri City Church of Christ, said Open Bible pastor Don Causey is in Portland at the hospital with the Howells and their son.

"We have younger friends who are good friends with them too, so I know they were active in what their kids did," Walker said. "It's just so sad."

A prayer vigil took place at the First Baptist Church, 351 2nd Ave, in Riddle Wednesday evening.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.

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