Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Fire station sits quiet as its neighbor burns

Gales Creek Store and woodshed catch fire across from unstaffed station


NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JILL REHKOPF SMITH - A charred jumble of shingles and wood sits across the road from the unstaffed Gales Creek Fire Station. Three interns might be living (rent-free) at the station by the end of October, but that will be too late for the structures that burned last Friday.A fire burned down a wood shed and part of the Gales Creek Store last Friday night directly across the road from the Gales Creek Fire Station, which is currently unstaffed.

Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District officials have offered free rent for up to four firefighter interns or volunteers willing to live in the

manufactured home adjacent to the station.

“By the end of October we hope to have people living there,” said Chris Woodford, fire inspector for Forest Grove Fire&Rescue. “Last I heard, there were three interns that were planning on moving into the house.”

The house isn’t quite finished and ready for occupancy, Woodford said, but “it’s getting close.”

A staffed fire station would have made a huge difference last Friday at 11:15 p.m. when the first 911 caller reported the fire, Woodford said.

“It took us 10 to 12 minutes to get there. Had there been people at the station, at that house, they could have literally pulled an engine out on the front ramp and started putting water on the fire before it spread.”

Although the cause of the fire is still unknown, it apparently started in a pile of shingles, Woodford said.

The residents of the home adjacent to the Gales Creek Store had bought three piles of wood shingles that they were going to use to re-side part of the house, Woodford said. Dropped off Tuesday, the shingles were still sitting by the house, unused, when someone driving past Friday night noticed they were on fire.

The driver knocked on the door of the home to alert the family and get them out of the house.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JILL REHKOPF SMITH - A charred jumble of shingles and wood sits across the road from the unstaffed Gales Creek Fire Station. Three interns might be living (rent-free) at the station by the end of October, but that will be too late for the structures that burned last Friday.

“By the time we arrived there, the fire had spread to the wood shed and the store,” Woodford said.

Except for a little damage to two rooms on its far west end, the store itself didn’t sustain much smoke or fire damage, he said. The main problem is that the store’s panel box and meter base both burned up, so there’s no power to the store, which the owners have been opening a few days each week.

The home, however, is on a separate power supply so the family is still able to live in the home, he said.

When they finally got there, Woodford said, “the fire crew did a pretty amazing job of stopping the fire.” They finished around 3 a.m., he said.