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Boy, 4, alerts family of fire

Two trailers complete losses


by: LINDA LARSON - A pile of charred rubble was all that remained of two mobile homes at Tops Trailer Park on Saturday after a fast-moving fire.A Madras family was saved by a 4-year-old boy Saturday morning, when a fast-moving fire broke out in a mobile home at Tops Trailer Park.

"He did the right thing by alerting everyone to the fire and getting them out," said incident commander Mark Johnson, of the Jefferson County Fire Department.

The fire was reported at 10:09 a.m., and firefighters arrived on the scene at 10:16 to find one trailer fully engulfed in flames, and a neighboring trailer quickly catching fire.

The fire started on the porch of a trailer, owned by Zack and Lea Johnson, with six occupants. The Johnson's 4-year-old son Matthew woke, spotted the fire, and woke up his uncle Marc Snook, who was staying with them. Matthew got his 2 1/2-year-old sister Natasha out, while Snook woke up the Johnsons.

Lea Johnson grabbed her infant daughter Isabel and ran through flames to escape. "The mom and baby got a little bit of burn on the way out," said Mark Johnson, who is not related to the family. "She had minor burns on her arms, and the baby had burns on her head."

The fire department responded with three structure engines, a brush engine, support vehicle and 21 firefighters.

"The obstacles we ran into were the power line dropping and arcing," said Johnson. "The neighbors did a good job of pulling cars away before we got there."

Two trailers were completely consumed by fire, but firefighters managed to keep the fire from burning other trailers. "A third and fourth trailer were involved," said Johnson. "The third trailer had some damage to the back end wall, and the fourth trailer had heat damage."

The second trailer, owned by Phil and Brigitte Morsman, who own the trailer park, was vacant at the time. Both of the trailers that burned were valued at about $3,000 each. Johnson had no estimate of the value of the contents.

Felix Tellez, the owner of the third trailer, was also displaced while repairs are made on his trailer. The fourth trailer, owned by David Garcia, had broken glass from the heat, but was still livable, Johnson said.

The official cause of the fire is going to remain undetermined, said Fire Chief Brian Huff, who contacted the Oregon Fire Marshal's Office on Tuesday. "They've ruled out everything but human caused."

The trailers were not insured.

According to Will Robbins, uncle to Lea Johnson and Marc Snook, the family lost everything in the fire. "They have nothing and are seeking help," said Robbins, who works at KWSO.

The Johnson family has received help with clothing and short-term needs, but will need assistance with household items in the near future. Contact Robbins at KWSO during daytime hours, or at 541-420-0721, if you want to assist the family.



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  • 24 Oct 2014

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  • 25 Oct 2014

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