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Smoking caused weekend fire that injured two

Hannah Kyzer and Manette Aplin were on their way to go Christmas shopping Saturday morning when they spotted smoke.

"Hannah goes, 'Is that house on fire?' " Aplin said in a telephone interview. "The smoke was just billowing out of the house."

Aplin stopped the car and dialed 911 while Kyzer ran to the house. She spotted flames through a window. The front door was locked.

"I started banging on the door and just yelling," Kyzer said. " 'Hello? Is anybody in there?' "

The fire, reported at about 9 a.m. Saturday at 142 Wilson Road outside Central Point, sent two people to the hospital, one of whom is in critical condition. It was caused by "inappropriately discarded smoking materials," according to Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

The house had smoke detectors, but they were improperly installed and did not go off, said District 3 Public Information Officer Ashley Lara. The two people in the house, identified by a neighbor as Peggy Clark and John Crawford, were at Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center in Portland on Tuesday. Clark was listed in fair condition, and Crawford was listed in critical condition, according to hospital spokesman Piseth Pich.

While Kyzer tried to alert the residents of the home, she said she heard a man start screaming inside. Neighbors started to come out of their houses, also hearing the screams.

"I was worried that the people couldn't get out the door," Aplin said.

Kyzer ran around the side of the house, found a shovel and broke out a window. She yelled through the gap that help was coming.

"Just trying to give them a little bit of hope and help them hang on," she said.

Fire crews arrived a few minutes later. Four engines from Fire District 3 and two from Medford Fire-Rescue responded to the scene. Firefighters extricated the two people inside, along with several dogs. Kyzer, a veterinary tech, tried to assist one of the smaller animals by giving it CPR but was unable to save it. She and Aplin took a second larger dog to a clinic, then came back to the scene to give statements.

"You feel helpless, but you want to do everything you can," Aplin said. "That was our only goal."

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