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Ashland morning fires draw quick response

Two early-morning fires that sent firefighters scrambling in Ashland Tuesday are under investigation.

A grass fire was reported in the 100 block of Wightman Street at 1:23 a.m. Tuesday. As Ashland firefighters rushed to the scene, the caller told dispatchers that flames were attacking a fence and buildings, so the commander called a second alarm to summon additional fire crews to the blaze, Ashland Fire and Rescue said in a news release Tuesday.

Because other Ashland units were on a separate medical call, Jackson County Fire District No. 5 came to help.

The two fire departments found flames licking around a gazebo, guest house, vegetation and about 60 feet of fencing in a corner where four lots came together, Ashland Fire Capt. Dave Shepherd said.

Firefighters quickly quashed the flames, but the fire caused about $35,000 worth of damage, Shepherd estimated. It destroyed the gazebo, caused significant exterior damage to the guest house, scorched the main home and a travel trailer.

Officials said no one was home at the address when the fire broke out.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, officials said.

At about 1:55 a.m., a fire was reported burning in a landscaped area in the 200 block of Hargadine Street. An engine from District 5 left the Wightman fire to tackle the new blaze, but neighbors had put it out by the time the crew got across town, the Ashland news release said. The fire only damaged some shrubbery.

The cause of that fire also is under investigation.

Shepherd said the fires aren't thought to be related.

He said their timing showed how dry vegetation is even in town after last month's heat wave and how high the risk of fire is.