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Twin brothers die when breathing ventilators fail in power outage

Muscular Dystrophy

Authorities are investigating why twin 22-year-old brothers died when their ventilators shut down during a mass power outage in the Northern California town of Valley Springs.

The brothers, Ryan and Joshua Hall, suffered from muscular dystrophy and were dependent on the breathing ventilators for life support, Fox 40 reported. On Tuesday night, a widespread power outage hit the area, prompting their mother to call authorities for help.

When Calaveras County sheriff's deputies arrived, they found the brothers in distress and immediately administered CPR, but they eventually died. 

Sheriff Gary Kuntz told Fox 40 his department was looking at a number of possibilities, including why the backup system to the ventilators failed. Residents in the neighborhood were also curious.

"They had backup systems that didn't work so it looks like there may have been a failure of equipment there," neighbor Steven St. Sure told Fox 40. "I mean, power outages are always a possibility, especially up here."

Meanwhile, the death of the brothers shocked neighbors in the small town east of Stockton.

“I heard and I just started crying,” said neighbor Kayte Dollens.

Another neighbor, Megan Dollens, told ABC News 10 said she couldn't image the family's pain.

"I honestly don't know what to think about this because it's awful," she said. "I can't image what their parents are thinking."

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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