La Cañada neighborhood mourns drowned girl, 6

A decades-long tradition on a quiet La Cañada Flintridge street was struck by tragedy on Memorial Day when Emily Fu, 6, drowned in her family’s pool during the neighborhood’s annual block party.

Fu was found submerged in the family’s backyard pool at around 7:20 p.m. Efforts by paramedics to revive her failed and she was transported to Verdugo Hills Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to L.A. County Assistant Fire Chief Bill Niccum.

On Tuesday, friends and family arrived to offer condolences and flowers at the Fus’ Indianola Way residence.

Family friend Serene Stevning, whose son befriended Emily in their special education class at Paradise Canyon Elementary School, answered the door at the Fu home Tuesday morning.

 “It’s surreal,” she said. “I cannot imagine how sad they are, and will be for the rest of their lives.”

Stevning said that the Fu family declined comment.

Neighbor Chuck Strand said that he doesn’t know the Fu family well, as they had moved into the neighborhood in 2010, but said the family fit into the “Norman Rockwell” feel of the neighborhood’s Memorial Day celebration, bringing traditional Chinese food to the block party.

 “Their neighbors said they were such caring parents, so careful,” Strand said. “It’s just a freak moment.”

Niccum said that when paramedics arrived Fu was cyanotic, meaning her skin had started to turn blue or purple, indicating a severe lack of oxygen.

“We don’t know how long she had been submerged when they pulled her up,” said Niccum. “Usually kids are pretty resilient, so I would say she might have been down longer than anyone would have thought.”

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Twitter: @ValleySunDan

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