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Fire damages White City apartments; no one is hurt

WHITE CITY — An attic fire on Christmas Day displaced several residents of an apartment complex on Division Road in White City.

Jackson County Fire District 3 crews were called to the four-unit complex at 7770 Division Road near Highway 62 just after 1 p.m. after a resident came home and noticed smoke filling his apartment after turning on the heat, officials said.

"We had a quick response time, but by the time we got to the scene there was a heavy smoke column coming out of the roof," said District 3 Battalion Chief Rod Edwards.

Firefighters searched top-floor apartments but were unable to find the source of the smoke. Eventually, they made their way to the attic and were met by heavy flames.

"When we accessed the attic the fire was ripping away," Edwards said.

The firefighters acted quickly to protect the residents' belongings from water damage after they quelled the blaze.

The flames were doused quickly, but the incident left the complex uninhabitable, Edwards said.

"They lost some clothes and belongings to water and smoke damage, but the fire remained in the attic," he added.

The blaze displaced two young couples in the top story and two single residents below.

Fire officials were unable to contact one bottom-floor resident because she was traveling, Edwards said.

Fire crews monitored the attic throughout the day. They kept finding tiny hot spots in the insulation during their return visits, Edwards said.

The cause remains under investigation, though early signs point to a utility space between the second-story apartments where electric and plumbing appliances are housed as the place of origin, Edwards said.

A second alarm was sounded soon after District 3 crews arrived on the scene. The alarm also brought an engine from the Medford Fire Department to the scene.

Red Cross officials arrived later in the day to provide assistance to the displaced residents, Edwards said.

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