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Fire quickly destroys home

Fire destroyed a house on Table Rock Road and killed a pet dog early Friday, but as of Friday evening investigators still hadn't been able to tell the residents about the blaze.

No one was at home when the fire in the 3000 block of Table Rock Road, just outside the Medford city limits, was reported at about 2:10 a.m. Friday, said Don Hickman, deputy district fire marshal at Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

Fire engines from District 3 and the Medford Fire Department rushed to the neighborhood and found flames leaping through the roof of the home, which is tucked back from the road.

Unsure whether anyone was inside the home, crews quickly began their attack to beat back the heat and flames so firefighters could get inside to search. Hickman noted that the only fire hydrants are some distance away, so fire crews had to lay out 1,400 feet of hose to bring water to the burning house. A District 3 tanker truck also supplied water.

"We got plenty of water on it," Hickman said.

The home, which county records indicate was built in 1947 and is owned by a woman who lives in a Newberg retirement home, was gutted by the flames.

Fire investigators started work this morning scraping through the rubble to find where the fire started. They found the body of a large Rottweiler-cross dog who had died in the blaze.

Hickman said the damage was heaviest in a back bedroom of the 1,515-square-foot house. Investigators have cleared their way through about a third of the home, but hadn't found any cause for the blaze. It remains under investigation.

Authorities also haven't yet told the residents about the fire. Although they have notified the listed property owner Betty Wolk-Laniewski, the renters — described as a woman and child — haven't been contacted.

"We are actively looking for them and the investigation is ongoing," Jackson County Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

On Friday morning deputies and fire investigators gathered in front of a large yellow sign that jokes, "Private Property, Trespassers will be violated, Survivors will be shot." A small surveillance camera was tucked into a wisteria vine at the front of the yard.

A utility trailer parked under a detached carport was piled with furniture and miscellany. Garbage bags piled in a porch next to the front door had melted, partially spilling their loads of household trash.

A separate fire sparked by fireworks inside an apartment at 1990 Table Rock Road on Thursday caused about $15,000 damage, most of which can probably be repaired with a thorough cleaning and some light construction, Deputy Medford Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe said.

The fire was reported at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday in a two-story building with four apartments inside. Although the fire generated lots of heat and heavy black smoke, firefighters from Medford and District 3 had it extinguished in about 10 minutes, Sletmoe said.

He said a man rents the apartment, and his children, who live with their mother, often visit there. The man was out of town when the youngsters brought by the fireworks that started the fire.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

Jackson County Fire Dist. 3 deputy fire marshall Don Hickman and fire marshal Hugh Holden investigate an early morning fire that destroyed a single family home on the 3000 block of Table Rock Rd. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune - Bob Pennell