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Closet, room fire threatens three

From electrical cord


Several local residents awoke Oct. 24 to an electrical fire in their residence on Southwest Highway 97, about 4.8 miles south of Madras.

The three adult residents and a dog escaped the fire, called in at 2:44 a.m., and were provided with lodging and other assistance by the Cascades Region of the American Red Cross.

Jefferson County Fire Chief Brian Huff was first on the scene four minutes after the call at the home owned by Robert Lish, and the first fire engine arrived at 2:52 a.m.

The fire started in a bedroom closet, and one of the house's occupants, in a bedroom down the hallway, smelled smoke, he said, and awakened the other two. No one was in the bedroom where the fire started.

When he arrived, Huff said, "The occupant had shut the door, which was absolutely the best thing to do to choke out the flames."

Tom Jaca, assistant fire chief, said that the fire was due to misuse of an electrical cord.

"It was wired into the house circuit; it wasn't plugged into an outlet," he said. "It originated where the cord was spliced in and caught the contents of the closet on fire."

"The fire was contained to the bedroom, so there was approximately $5,000 worth of damage to the closet and bedroom, and then smoke throughout the house," said Jaca, noting that the house was built in 1975.

Nine firefighters were on the scene for about an hour and a half.

"We had the fire knocked down within about 10 minutes of the phone call," he said, adding that there were no working smoke alarms in the house.

"The reason they couldn't occupy the house was the power was cut off at the service pole, due to the compromised wiring in the house," he said.




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