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Fire damages abandoned house in downtown Medford

A fire damaged the interior of an abandoned house in downtown Medford Friday morning, an emergency that packed a neighborhood street with fire apparatus.

Dousing the fire was a bit of a challenge, because the structure's boarded-up windows presented an obstacle to firefighters.

"Because all of the windows are boarded up, it really creates kind of a special hazard for firefighters who go inside," said Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Kip Gray.

The fire was reported at 5:49 a.m. at the 24 No. Orange St. home, a stone's throw from West Main Street. A column of smoke could be seen for blocks. Medford resident John Paul Valdez had been at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA getting in his morning workout when a YMCA member came in to tell him about the blaze.

"It was really thick smoke, and you could tell it was really close," Valdez said. "It just looked really bad."

Valdez walked a block to the fire and snapped a few photos, capturing a thick, gray cloud that poured off the structure. 

Medford Fire-Rescue responded with four engines and a ladder truck. Firefighters poured water on the flames from the exterior while other crew members removed some of the boards from the windows. Crews had a majority of the blaze under control in about five minutes. Crews then entered to knock down residual flames, he said.

Gray said the fire looked to have started in a back room and spread to the attic. The cause was not immediately available.

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

Medford Fire-Rescue and police responded to a fire Friday morning at an abandoned house on North Orange Street. [Photo by John Paul Valdez]