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Pomodori fire suspicious, officials say

Officials are now considering arson as a cause of a fire at Pomodori Ristorante in downtown Medford Monday morning.

“I would say that’s a possibility right now,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Greg Kleinberg. “Until there’s further information, we can’t really pin it down, but that’s one of the possibilities we’re looking at.”

Investigators first thought a faulty light and short circuit caused the minor damage to the Italian restaurant’s exterior, but an electrician’s examination showed the light was fine.

A passerby reported the fire at 4:15 a.m. Monday, saying sparks and material were falling from a light mounted over a staircase awning that leads from a parking lot up to Pomodori’s entrance on Main Street. Crews snuffed the fire in a matter of minutes. Flames damaged much of the awning and had started to climb the ivy-covered wall, but crews prevented fire and smoke from entering the building. No one was injured.

Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Parks investigated the cause and said the likely culprit was a failed ballast in the lighting fixture. The sparks and material seen originally pointed to that as the cause.

“But that can be caused from the fire, too,” Kleinberg said.

Officials now think the fire started on or near the awning, he said. The agency is looking for surveillance video in the area, and for any witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Medford Fire-Rescue at 541-774-2300, Kleinberg said.

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

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