Buildings, businesses destroyed in Medford gas station fire
A hazardous materials assessment is underway and cleanup is expected to last days in the wake of a Tuesday night gas station fire that destroyed multiple businesses.
Medford Emergency Management estimates that at least four buildings were destroyed in a fire that broke at the Carson Pacific Pride Commercial Fueling station in the 900 block of South Central Avenue that was first reported at 9:39 p.m. Tuesday, and quickly spread north.
As of late Wednesday morning, the fire is knocked down and crews on scene are taking care of hot spots. A portion of South Central Avenue remains closed from East 13th Street to East Barnett Road due to safety and environmental risks.
Medford Public Works crews opened North Riverside Avenue at Barnett Road midday Wednesday. They ask motorists to use extreme caution in the area because multiple crews remain on site.
All left turns on North Riverside are prohibited in the newly reopened area.
Because the commercial fueling station contained large amounts of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products in above and below-ground tanks, Medford Fire Department quickly escalated the fire to a third alarm, according to a morning update on the fire department’s official Facebook page.
The third alarm drew resources from six nearby fire departments to the scene that included two ladder trucks and 10 fire engines. Altogether, 50 firefighters worked the fire at the peak of the overnight firefight.
Carson, the Portland based company that operated the Medford Pacific Pride station, has hired contractor Fire Strike Environmental to conduct an initial hazardous materials assessment of the site and will lead the hazardous materials cleanup, according to a release from the city of Medford.
The fire took out multiple businesses in the 900 block of South Central Avenue, such as Southern Oregon Printing & Copy and Sky High Smoke ‘N Accessories' south Medford location. (Corrected)
Sky High posted on Facebook Wednesday they intend to rebuild. The business’ west Medford location at 2101 W. Main St. remains open.
La Clinica’s Birch Grove Health Center, at 910 S. Central Ave., was closed Wednesday due to the fire.
The fire damaged landscaping outside the health center and singed a sign, according to La Clinica spokeswoman Julie Wurth.
Wurth said medical staff who normally work at Birch Grove focused on video visits Wednesday. For the next couple weeks, the clinic’s staff will be rerouted to Central Point and West Medford.
Wurth said they hope to reopen Birch Grove “sometime around the first of the month.”
Another La Clinica building — a former call center used by the nonprofit for storing furniture and equipment at 916 S. Central Ave. — was heavily damaged by the fire.
“We believe that one is pretty much gone,” Wurth said.
Medford police and Medford fire investigators are currently working to determine how the fire started. The police department stated in a morning Facebook update that the fire was first reported as a warming fire near the railroad tracks.
“We will be working closely with Medford Fire to examine the scene once it’s safe to do so,“ the police department’s post states. ”It’s an active investigation.“
The police department asks anyone who may have information about the fire to contact them at 541-770-4783, and reference case No. 22-6203.
Correction, April 14: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Affordable Battery Solutions was among the businesses destroyed in the Pacific Pride fire. The store was not destroyed in the fire, and its sister business AJ Electric Wheelchair Repair are still operating at their new location at 844 S. Riverside Ave. in Medford.