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Fire destroys shell of Starlite Drive-In

Medford fire officials are investigating the cause of a Sunday morning fire that destroyed what remained of the Starlite Drive-In on South Pacific Highway.

The abandoned shell of the building that once housed the outdoor theater's projection room and snack bar was reported burning at 8:48 a.m. By the time the first firefighters arrived six minutes later, the two-story structure was engulfed in flames, Medford Battalion Chief Ken Goodson said.

Goodson said officials suspect someone may have ignited the blaze in the building that has been a popular gathering spot for homeless people.

It's definitely a possibility, Goodson said. It's one of two things: Either a transient started it on accident, or someone did it on purpose.

Three engines with 10 firefighters, a battalion chief, an inspector and officials from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department had the fire under control within 10 minutes, Goodson said.

No one was hurt in the fire.

The Starlite Drive-In opened in Medford on June 8, 1949, according to Southern Oregon Historical Society records. It last showed movies in 1987.