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Officer helps elderly man escape house fire

A Medford police officer rushed to help an elderly man who was trying to douse a fire in his home Sunday afternoon.

Medford Fire and Rescue responded at 4:07 p.m. to a fire at 1036 Court Street in northwest Medford. No one was injured.

"One of the Medford patrol officers was at the hotel next door," said Ron Nelson, acting Medford battalion chief. "While he was talking to the occupant in the hotel, somebody said, 'Hey, there's something on fire. There's something smoking over there.'"

Officer Erica Doran went to a back unit at 1036 Court Street and found an elderly man attempting to throw water on the fire, Nelson said. The officer, who had contacted Medford fire, attempted to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

"It was a pretty small fire," Nelson said. "It burned part of a wall in the bedroom area."

The resident, who uses a walker, was helped from the house by the officer, Nelson said.

During the investigation of the fire, Nelson said it appeared some wiring was arcing while a microwave was in use.

Two small units had been added on to the back of the house, and both units appeared to have wiring issues, Nelson said.

As a result, the power was cut to the buildings, and they were deemed unsafe for occupancy until the building department investigates, he said.

The family that lives in the front house went to live at a friend, but the elderly man and a woman who lived in the two back units found housing through the Red Cross, Nelson said.

"They'll have a place to stay for the night," he said.

The man had lived in his unit for about a week, Nelson said.

A smoke detector was located in the main house but not in the sleeping areas, Nelson said.

"If this had happened at nighttime, we might have had a different result," he said. "Everything happened at the right time to keep the fire and the potential to harm human life to a minimum."

Damage was estimated at $500 or less, not counting the potential costs to bring the house up to code.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.