Eugene couple desperate for a breath of fresh air

Residents near McKenzie Valley are prepared to evacuate.

EUGENE, Ore. - With the air quality in the Willamette Valley reaching hazardous levels, one Eugene couple is holding their breath for fresh air.

Gene and Patience Pontious are disable, and say they are out of options when it comes to staying cool.

They keep their windows closed due to the smoky air, and like many homes in our area, their home has no air conditioning.

Some days, the couple says it's like they can't breath.

Gene suffers form Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Patience has asthma. Both of them also suffer from diabetes.

Both of them say they've had bad days dealing with the polluted air.

"It feels like we're prisoners, quite frankly," said Patience. "We really can't go out and do anything because of the weather and the smoke, and his is serious enough that I worry about him not making it."

The couple says they have a lot of medical equipment to carry around if they want to go anywhere.

We spoke with a respiratory therapist who says if you are struggling, don't hesitate to go to the hospital if breathing becomes difficult.

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