Dogs, cats, snakes rescued from fire
Five dogs, two cats, and an assortment of snakes and rodents were successfully removed from a smoke-filled house about 5 miles north of Madras Dec. 7.
At 11:06 a.m., the Jefferson County Fire District responded to a report of a house fire at 1019 NW Elm Lane. The home's occupant, Johnathan Caffall, was not home at the time.
Fire Chief Brian Huff was the first on the scene from the JCFD.
"As I arrived, we had smoke showing from the west end of a single-story, single-family home," said Huff, who saw smoke coming out of the crawl space vents on the west side of the house.
"As I established command and conducted the normal 360-degree walk around of the structure for the scene size up, you could see that the entire home was full of smoke, but the pressurized smoke was on the west end only," he said, noting that bystanders had opened windows on that side and persuaded two dogs to jump out.
After Huff found that all the doors were locked, he closed the open windows to keep the fire contained until firefighters were on scene.
When the firefighters arrived, they made forcible entry on the security screen door and the locked front door, and within seconds reported that they had knocked down the fire, Huff said. The firefighters found and removed numerous other animals, including three more dogs, two cats, and the snakes and rodents.
"There were several baby chick casualties in the area of origin," said Huff. "In the middle west bedroom, a heat lamp had been used to keep the baby chicks warm. The heat lamp got too close to the 'kiddie pool,' and ultimately caught the carpet, the floor and the subfloor on fire."
The house, owned by Randy Pars and valued at $248,000, had damage estimated at $49,000, primarily to the floor and subfloor on the west end of the house, where the fire started. Information on whether or not it was insured was not available.