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Firefighters knock down restaurant fire

A Monday morning fire that started on a staircase awning next to Medford’s Pomodori Ristorante and had begun to climb the building’s ivy-covered exterior was likely started by a failure in a lighting fixture that caused it to short circuit.

A passerby called 911 at about 4:15 a.m. and reported seeing sparks and material falling from a light mounted over the awning, which had caught fire.

“There’s ivy growing all over that side of the building, so it spread into the ivy and started burning back up toward the roof-line of the building,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Parks.

The restaurant is at 410 E. Main St., and the staircase leads from an adjacent parking lot back up to street level. Crews arrived on scene at 4:20 a.m. and had the fire under control in a matter of minutes. No flames or smoke spread into the building.

“Relatively speaking, pretty minimal damage,” Parks said. “It was all over pretty quick.”

The failure of a ballast component in the lighting fixture was the likely culprit.

“Those have a finite lifespan, and unfortunately sometimes when they reach the end of that lifespan, they fail in spectacular ways,” Parks said. “It looks like that’s what occurred here.”

Fire officials initially dispatched four engines, but that was scaled back when the first engine arrived.

Main Street did not need to be closed during firefighting efforts, as fire crews used the facility parking lot, Parks said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

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