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Electrical malfunction caused ARC fire

The fire that destroyed much of the attic and roof at an Addictions Recovery Center building in east Medford likely was started because of an electrical malfunction in the attic, Medford Fire-Rescue officials said Monday.

But while fire investigators are confident in their findings, they still hope to dig deeper and pinpoint a specific culprit.

“We can’t say exactly what it was,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Greg Kleinberg. “We know it started in that area based on the fire patterns and the video surveillance that we had and the fire behavior in that area.

“We just don’t want to point to a certain device or something at this time until they analyze it further,” he added.

The attic where the fire began is directly over an office and a bathroom in Building C at the campus, 1003 E. Main St. The building hosts mostly specialty programs, including community-family court, gambling addiction services and DUII classes.

The fire was reported to 911 at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, drawing a seven-engine response from both Medford Fire-Rescue and Jackson County Fire District No. 3. Firefighters spent close to 50 minutes battling the flames. No one was injured, but the flames caused heavy damage to the building’s roof and attic, with smoke damage throughout much of the building.

“It really did a lot of damage,” Kleinberg said.

No ARC programs were affected, but some had to be moved to other campus buildings. Ten ARC personnel, including clinicians and interns, had to be relocated to 1025 E. Main St., which houses most of ARC’s outpatient services and a walk-in clinic and serves as the nonprofit’s administrative building.

The investigation into the cause of the fire was initially delayed due to unsafe conditions. Investigators had to wait about a week until cranes could be used to remove HVAC units.

“All the weight was on the ceiling,” Kleinberg said. “The ceiling inside did not collapse, and it didn’t really burn through the ceiling on the inside, but there was a lot of weight on it from everything that fell down. Those HVAC units were teetering up there.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed much of the attic and roof at the Addictions Recovery Center in Medford earlier this month. Kaylee Tornay / Mail Tribune.