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Elderly man found dead in house fire

An elderly man died in his Brookhurst Street home Wednesday evening when flames ripped through the house and threatened neighboring residences.

Officials are not sure if the man died as a result of the fire or of old age, Medford police Sgt. Tim Doney said. The victim's name was not released Wednesday night because police had not been able to locate his family to notify them of the fatality.

Before receiving confirmation of the man's death, neighbors had a sneaking suspicion he never made it out of his house.

His truck's still there, said neighbor Joyce Stratton. He takes his truck when he goes anywhere.

At 7:48 p.m., a neighbor phoned 911 to report seeing flames coming from a single-story home at 1837 Brookhurst Street. When the first Medford fire crew arrived three minutes later, smoke and fire had already engulfed the residence, Medford Fire Chief Dave Bierwiler said.

— After learning from neighbors that the man might be inside the house, firefighters entered the burning structure in an attempt to locate and rescue him. Inside, they found his body.

Bierwiler said flames nearly touched a pair of neighboring homes, including Stratton's. Stratton said before firefighters arrived, she and her husband were jolted out of bed by a neighbor who came banging on their door to warn them of the fire.

Dozens of neighbors watched as a series of fire engines arrived at the home. Medford firefighters were assisted at the scene by crews from Phoenix and Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

Medford police cordoned off a two-block section of Brookhurst Street while firefighters extinguished the blaze and investigated the fire, with help from Medford police detectives and the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office.

Bierwiler said the cause of the blaze was under investigation. It was not known Wednesday night in what part of the home the fire originated.

We have no clue at this time, Bierwiler said.

Neighbors said they believed the man was in his 90s. Stratton said he was a kind individual who others kept an eye on, because of his age.

He was one hell of a nice guy, Stratton said. All the neighbors around here watched out for him.

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About 25 firefighters quickly doused the blaze Wednesday night on Brookhurst Street in Medford. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell