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Woman suffers medical emergency and dies in homeless camp in downtown Olympia

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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.
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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.

A woman died in a homeless camp in downtown Olympia Sunday night after suffering a medical emergency, according to Olympia fire and police officials.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock has yet to identify the woman, he said Monday. He said she was 48 years old.

The incident was just one of four medical calls to homeless encampments Sunday night.

About 7:10 p.m. Sunday, Olympia fire crews were dispatched to the homeless camp in the area of Franklin Street Northeast and State Avenue Northeast when a man suffered a seizure, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Buchanan said Monday.

It was after treating that man, who was released at the scene, that crews were alerted to a woman suffering from severe respiratory distress about 7:35 p.m Sunday, he said. Aid was administered, but soon they had to perform CPR in an attempt to revive the woman. She eventually died at the scene, Buchanan said.

Olympia police also responded. Lt. Paul Lower said there were no signs of foul play or trauma to the woman’s body.

An official cause of death will be determined by the coroner.

After those two calls, Olympia fire crews responded to a third aid call at the same homeless camp just after 8 p.m. Sunday. They also responded to an aid call at another nearby homeless camp about 8:40 p.m. Sunday, Buchanan said.

The situation wasn’t that unusual. Olympia fire crews have been responding daily to medical aid calls at the downtown homeless camps, Buchanan said.

Calls for aid might become even more frequent because overnight temperatures in the Olympia area are expected to fall below freezing all week, according to the National Weather Service.

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