Quick response stops flames

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Jefferson County firefighters halt spread of a fire that started on the roof of a two-story Madras residence.

LINDA LARSON - Wind whipped the flames from a roof fire, likely started by an ember from a wood stove flue, last Wednesday, March 8, on Southeast E Street, in Madras. Firefighters were able to stop the fire before it could breach the ceiling and get into the home's living space.
Flames from a fast-moving fire, which started on the roof of a two-story house on Southeast E Street, were quickly knocked down last Wednesday thanks to the immediate response of the Jefferson County Fire Department.

A passerby called 911 to report the flames at 1:59 p.m., and within a short time, 10 firefighters had responded.

"We made an aggressive attack on the fire, which was burning on the roof and just starting to breach into the living space through the ceiling," said Fire Chief Brian Huff, who believes that it was started by a hot ember from the wood stove flue, which landed on the wood shake roof.

"The fire occurred during high wind conditions, so the fire was burning very rapidly across the roof, but we were able to make a quick knock down," said Huff.

Upon arrival, firefighters conducted an interior search to ensure that no one was in the home, which is owned by a Redmond resident and rented to a local family.

"I have not been in contact with the homeowner yet," said Huff, who estimated the damage at $5,000-$8,000. "The renters did not have renters' insurance, but we were able to stop the fire before it was able to damage any of the renters' contents."

The firefighters, along with a structure engine, ladder truck, tender and command vehicle were on the scene for about two hours. "Then we have to put all of the fire equipment back into service, which typically takes another 30 minutes to an hour," he said.

The renters were able to return to the home after the fire. "The fire district carries plastic and stringers to temporarily cover up holes from fire damage," said Huff. "We were able to provide the temporary covering over the hole in the roof."

The fire chief reminded local residents "to have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned at least a couple of times during the use period of your stove or fireplaces. Also, check your smoke alarms often and conduct fire drills with your family."