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MailTribune.com
  • Fire rips through Medford home Friday night

    Family, pets escape blaze started when stray fireplace ember ignites beanbag
  • A spark from a living-room fireplace ignited a beanbag inside a north Medford house Friday night and sent flames through the structure.
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  • A spark from a living-room fireplace ignited a beanbag inside a north Medford house Friday night and sent flames through the structure.
    Nobody was injured in the fire, said Deputy Chief Justin Bates of Medford Fire-Rescue .
    Bates said four engines responded to the blaze at 7:24 p.m. and arrived 5 minutes later in the 2000 block of Saint Thomas Way, a small cul-de-sac adjacent to Delta Waters Road.
    "When they got here, the house was fully involved," Bates said. "There is pretty extensive damage throughout the entire house, but it will be able to be repaired."
    Bates said about a dozen firefighters responded to the fire, which sent flames licking from beneath the roof eaves and poured black smoke into the night.
    The family's pet lizard, rabbit and dog were saved from the fire, Bates and neighbors said.
    "They went to start a fire in the fireplace ... and they cracked the door open a little bit to try and get it going and a spark popped out of the stove and ignited a beanbag," Bates said.
    Bates said the homeowner tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, but the flames were too large.
    The owners of the home, who wished not to be interviewed, stored their pets and took shelter at next-door neighbor Denise Frazier's house while firefighters fought the flames.
    "All the pets were OK," Frazier said, who said she was impressed with the response of firefighters.
    Keith Brunkala, who lives across the street , said one of his family members alerted him that the house across the street was on fire.
    "I looked out and saw a bunch of fire all over the house," Brunkala said. "It was just a lot of fire."
    Brunkala said he saw the father of the family who lives in the house break out a window and pull a rabbit cage from the house while it was on fire.
    Once the flames were mostly extinguished, firefighters entered the house and brought out the lizard and a few other personal belongings of the family, he said.
    Brunkala said firefighters immediately began spraying the blaze when engines arrived on scene, and had the flames knocked down quickly.
    Belongings inside the family's garage and cars parked in the driveway were not damaged.
    By 8 p.m., firefighters were breaking down water hoses behind their engines and preparing to leave while investigators assessed the fire's damage.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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