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Blaze chars residence

Fire officials are investigating the cause of a kitchen blaze that blackened an east Medford home Friday afternoon.

Medford firefighters shut down a block of Reddy Avenue after the call came in at around 1:25 p.m. that a two-story home had caught fire.

Initially, fire crews were told that two people may have been inside, but it turned out the residents were not home, Medford fire Battalion Chief Brian Fish said.

"We did a thorough search of the house and found no one inside," Fish said.

The blaze was contained to the kitchen in the back of the house. However, smoke filled the second story, causing severe damage, Fish said.

The blaze was extinguished in about 15 minutes, leaving crews to clean up the area.

Fire crews broke out the top floor windows to allow the smoke to escape. The kitchen was destroyed and the back end of the home was charred.

"It's structurally sound and can be refurbished," Fish said. "It's going to take a lot of work."

The blaze provided an opportunity for six fire department recruits to get some valuable experience mopping up a scene and searching for hidden fires inside the home, Fish said.

"These recruits allowed us to leave six firefighters for other calls in town while this fire was going on," Fish said.

Two fire inspectors continued investigating the source of the blaze late Friday.

As they prepared to leave, two firefighters took the time to fix a small wire fence protecting some flowers near the burnt home. Apparently, the fire crews knocked the fence down while dragging a hose to the scene.

"That's good customer service right there," Fish said to the firefighters.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Medford fire inspectors Randy Cooper, left, and Greg Kleinberg search through the kitchen area of a fire-damaged house on Medford's Reddy Avenue.