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No one injured as fire torches patio at Medford apartment

A Tuesday morning fire likely caused by a smoldering cigarette and egged on by a propane tank shredded a Medford apartment patio, but only spread slightly into the home's interior and didn't damage other units.

Medford Fire-Rescue responded to the fire at 5:52 a.m. at Poplar Village, following reports of a fire burning outside a ground level apartment facing Morrow Road. Crews responded with four engines, two battalion chiefs and additional support from Jackson County Fire District No. 3. About 20 personnel were on scene. Battalion Chief Erin Sawall said crews evacuated the surrounding apartments in the eight-unit building in case the fire got out of control. No one was hurt.

Fire inspector Chase Browning said patio furniture and a propane tank's melted hose helped push the fire's spread.

"It did cause some more fire damage from the tank failing," Browning said, clarifying that the tank was not the source of the fire, but did help it grow. "It starts to emit and then it shuts itself off, and it keeps recurring, and it was doing that."

Fire officials said a woman and her adult son who live in the apartment escaped without injury.The Rogue Valley Chaplain's Association and the American Red Cross are helping them find a place to stay.

A damage estimate was not immediately available. Fire officials said there was a smoke alarm, but that there were not exterior automatic fire sprinklers, which they say would have put the fire out much quicker.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.