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Debris fire threatens east Medford house

A fire that ignited in debris Monday afternoon threatened an east Medford house before firefighters were able to knock down the flames, authorities said.

The 3:17 p.m. fire drew three Medford Fire-Rescue engines to the 600 block of Camino Clair Street. Crews needed less than five minutes to quell the flames, which scorched the house’s side but did not make it inside, firefighters said.

The fire also severely damaged a fence shared with an adjacent landowner.

Mike Pugh, who identified himself as the homeowner’s boyfriend, said he was working in the house and smelled smoke, then saw flames inside a pile of old furniture, oily rags and other debris he had stockpiled next to the garage and planned to haul away soon.

A neighbor was attempting to extinguish the flames when Pugh called 911, he said.

Pugh said he was smoking near the pile about 9 a.m. but extinguished his cigarette. Pugh chalked the fire up to an unknown “combustion.”

“I’m positive it wasn’t started by a cigarette,” Pugh said.

The fire remained under investigation Monday afternoon, and “we’re looking at all possible causes,” Battalion Chief Brian Farber said at the scene.

No damage estimate was immediately available.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Medford Firefighters walk through rubble at the side of a home off of Camino Claire St. in Medford on Monday.