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Stewart Market fire cause undetermined

A fire at Stewart Market Aug. 29 was so destructive that the Medford Fire Department opted to conclude its investigation of the fire scene without determining the cause of the blaze.

“The cause is undetermined,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Tanner Fairrington. “It’s highly unlikely we’ll obtain more information.”

The blaze began in the northeast corner of the building, located near the intersection of Lozier Lane and West Stewart Avenue.

Its origin appears to have been in or near a restroom. A ventilation fan or some other piece of electrical equipment may have malfunctioned, but how the fire started remains unclear, he said.

Fairrington said earlier this week that the site was unsafe to enter because the fire caused the building to partially collapse.

Records about the building kept by the Jackson County Assessor’s Office state that the structure was built in 1940.

Nearly three dozen firefighters from Medford, Jacksonville and Jackson County worked to extinguish the blaze, which required a first response just after 6 a.m., then a subsequent larger response a few hours later.

Lozier Lane and West Stewart Avenue were closed and electricity was shut off to more than 2,400 customers for about 90 minutes to aid in the firefighting effort, according to earlier reporting.

Reach reporter Terri Harber at tharber@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.