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Central Point house fire claims lives of pets

A Central Point structure fire closed a section of Highway 99 for about an hour Thursday night while crews ran hose lines across the road to battle the flames.

Fire officials said a dog and a few pet birds died in the fire.

The dog had been missing for a few hours after the blaze was reported, and "when he was found, he was deceased ... he was inside," said John Patterson, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 fire marshal.

The fire was reported at 10:03 p.m. at 2489 Scenic Ave. Fire officials said one of the three-or-so occupants arrived home to see flames and smoke pouring from the structure's interior and called 911. District 3 firefighters responded with three engines and three water tenders, as crews were uncertain about water access in the area. Medford Fire-Rescue and some District 3 interns also responded with additional engines.

"It wasn't a huge, visible fire, but we definitely had flames coming out from some front windows," said Rod Edwards, Fire District 3 battalion chief.

Crews laid hoses across Highway 99 to the railroad tracks, closing the road temporarily. Edwards said Central Point police and Jackson County Sheriff's Department deputies assisted. No train traffic was affected.

But the closed road also helped deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department make a traffic stop that led to the seizure of 18 cannabis plants. Sheriff's department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said firefighters flagged down a deputy heading past the fire to tell him they had seen a pickup truck with several plants in the back.

"(They) were plainly visible. Also on board was another pound of dried marijuana," Carlson said.

Neither of the vehicle's occupants, 46-year-old Brett Barkley and 39-year-old Andrew Telford, had medical marijuana cards, police said. They were cited and released on charges of possession and manufacture of a controlled substance. Police seized the drugs.

"It was a great break," Carlson said.

Fire crews said the house was an older structure that may have had some remodeling done, which made it difficult for crews to beat back the flames.

"It was pretty stubborn. We had to go at it a couple times," Edwards said. "It was sort of an unusual compartmentalization in the house."

It took an hour to extinguish the fire. Edwards said the structure is likely a total loss, but some items may be salvageable. The cause remained under investigation Friday, but firefighters say a propane-fueled space heater that was close to some combustibles may have been the culprit. Electrical issues were also being looked into as a possible cause.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.