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MailTribune.com
  • Blaze rips through Ruch home

    Occupants, and animals, escape midnight fire that sent flames 100 feet into the air
  • RUCH — When he first heard his smoke detector go off just before midnight Thursday, homeowner Gregory Snow was irritated.
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  • RUCH — When he first heard his smoke detector go off just before midnight Thursday, homeowner Gregory Snow was irritated.
    "I got up and I got mad at my smoke detector," Snow said.
    But within minutes, Snow and the two other occupants of his two-story home in the 500 block of Lomas Road smelled smoke and discovered a fire in a workroom on the first floor. They and five animals — two dogs, one cat and two pet rats — escaped safely.
    "All of the breathing life was saved and unscathed," he said.
    Responders said flames reached about 100 feet and destroyed 75 percent of the home.
    "As soon as we pulled out of our fire station, we could see the fire," said Capt. Greg Gilbert of Applegate Fire District No. 9. The flames could be seen from over a mile away, crews said.
    Crews arrived within 15 minutes. Applegate Fire, Jacksonville Fire, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 and Medford Fire & Rescue responded with five engines and five water tenders. Capt. TaiLese Goodnough said there was never a threat of the blaze spreading to other structures or nearby wildland.
    "There were no garages or other exposures that were of issue," Goodnough said. The other structure on the property, a greenhouse, was a mile away from the danger.
    Crews were still on scene mopping up hot spots and investigating a cause through Friday evening.
    Officials said the structure is likely a total loss.
    Snow said that he had replaced the batteries in his smoke detectors around the start of daylight saving time. He said the chore wasn't something he normally would have bothered with, but it just stuck in his mind.
    Snow described himself as a spiritual man and said he believes everything happens for a reason. He said he was grateful to have rescued armfuls of his spiritual books and that his beliefs are helping him through this difficult time.
    "It helps me in times like this to realize I'm truly not attached to these material things anymore," he said. "It's quite a relief in a way."
    Snow and his two renters are staying with neighbors. Snow is unsure whether he'll rebuild. The property is currently for sale, and he thinks he may still just sell the property once everything is cleaned up.
    As to what's next for Snow, he believes he may move out of the area.
    "I've been wanting to be on my way out of here," he said. "I've been here for 33 years. I'm ready to move on."
    Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Reach Southern Oregon University intern Shannon Houston at shouston@mailtribune.com.
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