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Fire destroys Gold Hill family's home

GOLD HILL ' The cause of a fire that destroyed a family's home here Friday afternoon was unknown.

the time firefighters arrived, the blaze ' reported at 4:40 p.m. ' had crept under the mobile home, which was propped up on cinder blocks. The structure and most of the residents' belongings were already destroyed, so crews concentrated on keeping the fire from spreading to trees and blackberry bushes surrounding the house, said Don Hickman, deputy fire marshal for Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

Hell, I didn't need this, said the property owner, John Setzer. Are you doing me a favor by letting it burn to the ground? he asked Hickman.

Setzer, who grows blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on the property, had rented the mobile home to Mike and Robin Burnett, who had lived there with their teenage son and daughter for the past three years, he said.

This is a terrible feeling to lose everything you own, Mike Burnett said as he watched his home burn.

Setzer's property ' in the 11000 block of Highway 234 ' was up for sale and insured. But the Burnetts did not carry insurance on the home's contents.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation, Hickman said.

Kevin Burnett, 13, and his 16-year-old sister's boyfriend, Frank Meza, were outside the house painting and repairing a car when the fire ignited, Hickman said. The boys told firefighters that they heard a pop and saw flames erupt outside the house near the kitchen. They tried to douse the fire with a garden hose, but the flames grew out of control, they told Hickman.

No one was injured.

Mike, Robin and Sarah Burnett arrived to see the home already consumed by flames. Friends and neighbors watched with the family from the highway's shoulder. Motorists waved at the Burnetts and shook their heads as police directed their cars around fire vehicles.

Twenty-one firefighters responded with seven engines, two water-hauling trucks and a bulldozer from District No. — and Oregon Department of Forestry. Firefighters salvaged a shed next to the house that was filled with miscellaneous items placed there when the Burnetts moved in.

The Red Cross was called to assist the family, Hickman said.

Kevin Burnett and Frank Meza, the boyfriend of Kevin?s sister, watch the Burnetts? Gold Hill-area rented home burn. Firefighters said they couldn?t save it, so they concentrated on keeping the blaze from spreading. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell