Brendan Weber

Wildfire Smoke Believed to Have Caused Asthma-Stricken Father's Death: Family

A 27-year-old father with breathing problems is believed to have died as a result of the wildfire smoke choking the North Bay, according to the man's family.

Joshua Hoefer, who struggled with asthma in the past, died on Sunday, roughly four days after he started complaining about having breathing trouble.

Hoefer's girlfriend Cierra Lopez said Hoefer took Albuterol — a medication designed to treat asthma — but it stopped providing him with relief on Thursday.

"I looked over and he was purple, and he was clenching and he just, at that point, his head went back...I looked at his finger tips and they were blue," Lopez said.

Lopez initiated CPR and called 911, but those efforts ended up not being enough. 

"[The doctor] came in and explained that, due to the smoke and [Hoefer's] already horrible asthma, that he had an asthma attack and went into cardiac arrest," Lopez said.

A hospital spokesperson on Monday could not confirm Hoefer's exact cause of death. The spokesperson did say that roughly 150 people have come to the emergency room within the past 24 hours. An estimated 15 percent of those suffering from respiratory issues were admitted. 

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