A fire believed to have started near an electrical panel in a Medford home Tuesday night put off so much smoke that it hid the home from view of arriving fire crews.
"When we arrived there was a bunch of smoke," said Medford Fire-Rescue battalion chief Brian Fish. "We couldn't even see the house when we first got there. It was banked down pretty good."
The fire was reported at 8:38 p.m. at the corner of Kings Highway and Experiment Station Road, with smoke and flames pouring off the attic. The owner, a man, and his dog made it out without injury.
Firefighters responded with four engines and knocked the blaze down in about a half hour. Kings Highway had to be closed for over an hour during firefighting efforts, Fish said. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department assisted with traffic control. Avista Utilities and Pacific Power also responded to turn off electricity and gas to the home.
Crews had some trouble gaining access to the home, as they didn't want to access the fire through the roof.
"The crews could hear electrical popping noise," Fish said.
Crews entered the building and pulled down portions of the ceiling to attack the blaze from below.
About 50 percent of the structure sustained damage, and some property inside the residence received additional damage from smoke. The owner was able to stay in another residence he owns on the property. Fire crews estimate about $50,000 worth of damage to the home.
Investigators will be back on scene today to try and determine the fire's cause. They believe it started near the electrical panel, which is inside a closet in the home.
— Ryan Pfeil