A fire believed to have started near an electrical panel in a Medford home Tuesday night put out 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 out of 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 30 minutes.
Crews had some trouble gaining access to the home, as they didn't want to attack 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 extinguish the blaze from below.
About 50 percent of the home was damaged, 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 estimated the total damage to the home and contents was about $90,000.
"(There was) heavy smoke damage throughout the house," said Medford Fire Deputy Chief Gordon Sletmoe.
Fire investigators say the blaze was created by sparks from wiring in the wall.
Kings Highway was closed for more than 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.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.