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MailTribune.com
  • Fire destroys historic house

    Cardwell House blaze was spotted early Saturday by Jacksonville officer, who woke residents, got them out
  • The historic Cardwell House was reduced to ashes early Saturday morning in Jacksonville.
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  • The historic Cardwell House was reduced to ashes early Saturday morning in Jacksonville.
    At about 1 a.m., Jacksonville Police Officer Bill Lupton saw an orange glow above the treeline from Blackstone Alley and discovered flames dancing on the porch of the historic home a few blocks away, at 630 Cardwell Court, said Chris Arnold, spokesman for Jacksonville Fire-Rescue.
    Lupton rushed into the house and woke up the sleeping family of four who were renting the house, along with their pets, before firefighters arrived and began dousing the flames, Arnold said.
    No one was injured in the blaze, Arnold said.
    "The police officer had the challenge of trying to get them awake and get them out of there," he said. "Thankfully, he was able to do so quickly."
    Jacksonville firefighters arrived as Lupton and the family were exiting the house.
    Crews from Jackson County Fire District No. 3, Medford Fire-Rescue and Applegate Fire District No. 3 responded after the second alarm was sounded, Arnold said.
    The heavy timbers in the old house, along with unorthodox "nooks and crannies" and the house's tucked-away location made the blaze challenging to extinguish, Arnold said.
    The fire charred bamboo and a fence surrounding the house and collapsed its second-story roof.
    Eight fire engines and 22 firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, Arnold said.
    "They thought initially they had a pretty good knock down, but it got in some of the inaccessible areas and kept going," Arnold said.
    Firefighters were able to salvage some personal property from the home, but the structure was a total loss, he said.
    Arnold said it took firefighters about three hours to knock down the blaze, and crews were busy mopping up the smoldering ashes until about 6 a.m.
    "I just feel really bad for them, because they didn't get hardly anything out," said neighbor Jesse Gammon, 35.
    One item firefighters were able to salvage was a valuable stove, Arnold said.
    "I didn't wake up until it had already started going ... we heard the chainsaws," Gammon said. "Our cars were covered in ash."
    Todd Zitzner, the owner of the house, did not wish to be interviewed.
    The house was built in 1860 by Rogue Valley pioneer James A. Cardwell and was on the National Register of Historic Places.
    Arnold said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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