12:30 p.m. A cigarette left burning on a couch during a party involving large quantities of whiskey turned into a fatal fire in Rogue River this morning, investigators said.
Rogue River police reported that Theodore Stanfield, 77, who lived at the Pine Street home, and Karen Crayne, 56, of Grants Pass, died in the fire. Stanfield's girlfriend, Johanna W. Campbell-Smith, 47, escaped the fire.
Stanfield and friends had what Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis described as "a dinner party with excessive alcohol."
Police were called to a fight at the house around 9:25 p.m. Tuesday. Stanfield was injured, but refused medical treatment at the time, Lewis said. Lewis said heavy drinking was common at the house.
Campbell-Smith told investigators Crayne left a cigarette burning on the couch, igniting the furniture. Campbell-Smith said she dumped a bucket of water on the fire and everyone turned in for the night. She said Stanfield was too intoxicated to walk to their bedroom and had to crawl to bed, Lewis reported.
Later in the night, Crayne, who had been sleeping on the couch, banged on the bedroom door, saying the couch had reignited, police said. Campbell-Smith said flames billowed to the ceiling this time, so she knew they had to get out of the house.
She told investigators that she thought the other two were right behind her, but they didn't make it out. Lewis said they were found dead in the bedroom.
Campbell-Smith was taken by ambulance to Three Rivers Community Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, Lewis said.
The cause of the fire is listed as accidental, investigators said.
7:50 a.m. Two people died and a third was injured in a fire that destroyed a home on Pine Street in Rogue River early this morning.
A neighbor across the street reported the fire in the 1000 block of Pine Street at about 2:45 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find an older, single-story home ablaze, Rogue River Fire District No. 1 Chief Jim Stearns said.
With the home engulfed in flames, crews had to focus on preventing the fire from spreading to a building next door that was scorched, he said.
Three people were home when the fire started and one got out, possibly escaping through a window, Stearns said. Investigators from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office are interviewing her at a hospital, he said.
No details were available this morning on the two people who died.
Stearns said it took about 30 minutes to knock down the raging flames and even longer to extinguish the fire fully.
"There were lots of hidden hot spots and a full basement," he said.
Roughly 30 firefighters, four fire engines, three water tenders and a flock of support vehicles from Evans Valley Fire District, Grants Pass fire department, Rural-Metro in Josephine County and Jackson County Fire District No. 3 worked on the fire.
Fire crews remain at the scene, along with investigators from the state fire marshal's office, the medical examiner's office, Oregon State Police and Rogue River police.