'Somebody was trying to kill us'
PROSPECT — Mike and Karyl McNall were on their way home from Medford Saturday evening when the neighbors began calling.
There had been an explosion that left their home near Lost Creek Lake in flaming rubble.
On one hand it was a devastating moment, losing a 4,569-square-foot home Mike McNall had worked on for more than a decade before moving in December 2012. But McNall said Sunday there was no happenstance involved.
"The explosion was no accident. Somebody was trying to kill us, and that's pretty much a reality," McNall said. "We've received threats."
McNall said he is scheduled to meet with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents over the next three days.
McNall said there were trespassers on his 32-acre property at 225 Flounce Rock Road about 90 minutes before the explosion. McNall runs a medical billing consulting firm for long-term-stay and retirement homes, serving as an intermediary.
He said he's fairly certain those intruders were connected to two masked men with gloves who attacked his wife, Karyl, last October, with what they believed was a gun. McNall said the men were seeking Pacific Retirement Services therapy files. (
See clarification and PRS's response, below.)
"We have deep knowledge of their (PRS's) business," McNall said. "We have information that people don't want us to have. They left without any information. All the important files are in the custody of somebody else."
Karyl was severely assaulted that night, he said, requiring a trip to the emergency room.
McNall said sheriff's deputies saw a late-model black Mercedes Benz with tinted windows driving away near the entrance of the property after the October incident, but only two officers were responding, so they were not able to stop the driver. The case remains open.
"If they were trying to silence us, they didn't," McNall said. "If they were trying to scare us, we're scared. But we're not going anywhere."
For now, he said, except to meet with investigators, he and his wife will keep a low profile.
"We're going to keep our whereabouts between us and local law enforcement and the feds. There are certain things relative to the matter to be known only between my wife, kids and law enforcement. That way if someone says they know certain things, we can ask 'how do you know?'"
The McNall's property was part of an enclave of a couple dozen homes off the northern shore of Lost Creek Lake in the Knighten Creek drainage west of Needle Rock and Highway 62. The explosion got everyone's attention and damaged multiple homes. Witnesses reported a half-dozen or more smaller explosions shortly after 8 p.m.
Alan Scully's quiet evening of channel-surfing turned chaotic when a thunderous boom rocked his house, breaking windows, knocking pictures off the wall and sending him out into the night along with his neighbors.
"I wanted to find a bunker somewhere," said the Vietnam War veteran. "It was like incoming artillery. It was the equivalent of two 40-pound satchel charges going off."
Stepping out on his deck, he saw the flaming remains of his neighbor's home roiling high above the surrounding pines that buffered his home from a direct impact.
The McNall's home was at the end of a long, gated driveway. It was built on the side of a hill with most of the living space above the garage. Volunteer firefighters arrived from Prospect less than 15 minutes after the explosion. They found parts of the roof, walls, insulation, and concrete foundation strewn for more than 300 feet around the home which had buckled and dropped into the basement.
"It looked like those pictures you see when a tornado goes through and levels houses," Prospect Fire Chief Greg Schaffer said. "There was debris scattered as far as you could see."
Doors were blown off a nearby garage and the exterior metal bent in places. Schaffer said the blast embedded plywood, siding and glass shards into nearby trees.
"There were trees, 8 to 10 inches in diameter next to the house that were blown down," Schaffer said. "I've never seen anything like that."
Scully said he watched flames go up the side of the mountain behind the house before firefighters quickly beat them down.
"It was lucky there was no wind," he said.
It was 3:30 a.m. before the fire was deemed out, although it smoldered for at least another 12 hours.
Matt and Vickie Grieve have been remodeling their home, about 150 yards from the McNall house.
"It felt like we got bombed, and then the glass in the windows started to break," Vickie Grieve said. "The percussion came, and then the backlash. We've been doing sheet rock, and the house just filled with dust; I thought it was smoke. I've been through earthquakes in California, but this was more freaky because of the way it came underneath my home."
Unlike a neighbor, whose dishes cascaded out of the cupboard, she said most items normally hanging on the walls were down for the remodel.
"There are probably a hundred trees between us, a lot of big pines," Grieve said. "That prevented more damage."
Two engines and two tenders responded along with firefighters from Jackson County Fire District No. 4 and Jackson County Fire District No. 3. A state forestry crew was called out, but the flames were contained to the blast area.
McNall owned a company that was a vendor for two Northern California retirement communities managed by a Pacific Retirement Services subsidiary, according to Brian McLemore, PRS's chief executive officer. The company, which provided health-care billing, was terminated as a vendor in April 2015, McLemore said.
McNall's company, called Pioneer Healthcare Management, did not have any PRS records, but it did have records from the subsidiary's client, McLemore said.