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Cigarette likely caused 3-alarm fire in Rogue River in April

ROGUE RIVER — A 3-alarm fire that caused extensive damage last month to a building housing three businesses and prompted a response from eight area fire agencies “appears” to have started accidentally, likely due to a discarded cigarette in a trash can, fire officials said.

The investigation into the April 2 blaze, conducted by Rogue River police and fire agencies with aid from the Oregon State Police arson unit and the Oregon State Fire Marshal, concluded Wednesday

“The fire appears to be accidentally caused by the discard of a cigarette material into a trash can with combustibles,” according to a Rogue River police news release.

A call to the OSP arson unit was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Crews from the Rogue River Fire District responded to the blaze at 2:47 a.m. Friday, April 2. The building that burned housed the Double R Pub, the Rogue River Laundromat, and JP Antiques. Flames were visible on the roof and inside the business.

An explosion heard prior to the fire was later determined to have been from an exploding propane tank, Rogue River fire Chief Mike Hammond said, but it was not the ignition source.

“It wasn’t the cause of the fire, it was the result of the propane tank being in the fire,” Hammond said.

The first firefighters on scene issued a third alarm, drawing units from the Evans Valley Fire District, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Rural Metro Fire, Jackson County Fire District No. 3, Medford Fire-Rescue, Applegate Valley Fire District No. 9, and the Williams Fire Department.

Oregon State Police and Rogue River police also sent units. A nearby home had to be evacuated, and officials closed nearby roads. Crews had the fire knocked down in about an hour and 20 minutes, Hammond said, with significant overhaul work required. No injuries were reported.

The initially “suspicious” nature of the fire prompted local law enforcement and fire officials to reach out to the state for assistance during the investigation, the release said.

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