Both under investigation

by: LINDA LARSON - Firefighters respond to a garage fire, believed to have been caused by transients, on Northwest Oak Street, on the hill behind Sonic on Dec. 21. The fire burned the garage and a carport.Two fast-burning fires that destroyed structures in northwest Madras last week remain under investigation.

The first, reported at 10:34 a.m. Dec. 19, destroyed a mobile home and all its contents and displaced a family of five last week.

Within minutes, the Jefferson County Fire Department responded to the fire at Tops Trailer Park at 23 N.W. Depot Road. When the fire department arrived, a single-wide trailer was fully engulfed in flames, and a neighboring trailer's porch and steps were on fire.

The mobile home, where Melanie A. Smith, her three children and 1-year-old nephew lived, was a total loss. The trailer's value was estimated at $3,850, and contents at $3,000. The residence was not insured.

by: SUSAN MATHENY - A firefighter lays out hose for the initial attack on the mobile home fire at Tops Trailer Park on Dec. 19. The home was completely burned.Tom Jaca, assistant fire chief, reported that one child was at school, but all the other occupants got out without injury. The Red Cross was called in to assist the family, which had lost all of their possessions.

Jaca said that the two adjacent structures — one of which was occupied — suffered heat damage before the fire was extinguised.

The fire department responded with 13 personnel, three structure engines and two support vehicles, and secured the fire by 12:46 p.m.

"We had a fire investigation team come in and they could not determine a cause because of the amount of damage," said Fire Chief Brian Huff, adding that the fire started "in the area where there was a Christmas tree on the north wall."

Smith a single mother of three, Zade, 9, Isaiah, 5, and Zariana, 2, was also caring for her 1-year-old nephew Keegan. The family lost everything, including Christmas presents, clothing and home furnishings, according to Melanie Smith's cousin Jackie Smith.

The Red Cross provided $600 for clothing and food, and paid for three nights in a local motel. "I would like to than the Red Cross for helping out," said Jackie Smith, who lived in a neighboring mobile home, and is now providing temporary shelter for her cousin.

Jackie Smith said that her cousin had just moved to Madras from Sisters, and purchased the mobile home, which was not insured.

To donate to Melanie Smith and her family, call 541-460-2719.

The second, unrelated fire was reported at 11:40 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at 61 N.W. Oak St., behind Sonic, lighting up the evening sky.

An unattached garage and carport were fully engulfed when the fire department arrived. Huff said that the house was unoccupied, but transients had been staying in the garage.

The roof and door of the 20-by-20 cinder block garage, owned by Kevin O'Meara, were burned. "There was damage from the previous fire from six years ago that hadn't been repaired, so there was very little value loss," said Huff.

"We have no origin, but it's human-caused, because there was no power to the structure," he said.

Firefighters were on the scene for an hour and a half.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine