Emergency responders busy
Emergency responders had their hands full early on Wednesday, Nov. 21, with a motor home fire, followed by two motor vehicle accidents on icy roads.
Around 6:50 a.m., a neighbor reported a fire in a motor home at a residence on Southeast Hering Road, just south of Madras. The Jefferson County Fire Department, Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services and several police officers responded.
"It was pretty much fully engulfed when we got there," said Fire Chief Brian Huff. "It doesn't take long for an RV to burn from front to back."
Huff said that the 34-foot 1997 Winnebago Adventurer, owned by Stann and Tracee Dmytryk, was a complete loss. The motor home, which was fully insured, was valued at about $15,000, with an additional $5,000 for contents.
"It looked like the origin was near the refrigerator," said Huff, adding that the owner said that the motor home had been connected to electricity.
The fire department, which responded with nine firefighters, an incident command vehicle, two structure engines and a water tender, was on the scene for nearly an hour and a half before they were toned out at 8:10 a.m. for a two-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 97, south of Southwest Colfax Lane, where a semitruck and a Honda Civic collided.
A woman, who had to be extricated from the Civic, was transported by JCEMS to St. Charles Redmond.
According to a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office report, the semitruck driver was not injured, and the highway was shut down for about 15 minutes. Oregon State Police were in charge of the investigation of the accident.
At 9:46 a.m., Huff said they were called to a single-vehicle accident on the north side of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. "One car went off the road and into the ditch," he said. "It was icy that morning."
Transients start fires
Prior to the busy morning of Nov. 21, Huff said that his department had responded to two separate fires started by transients, both involving vehicles.
The first was located in a pickup, with a canopy, in a yard off Fairgrounds Road, on Nov. 16. "It looked like someone tried to light a little campfire," he said.
On Nov. 21, a fire was reported around 11:18 a.m. on a flatbed truck parked in an old farm field behind a residence on Southwest Belmont Lane.
"They literally started a campfire on this flatbed and were roasting hotdogs," said Huff. "It caught the wood support structure for the flatbed on fire."
When the fire department arrived, the transients, who were on private property, ran.
"It looked like there was a party going on," he said. "There was a whole thing of hotdog buns, hotdogs and chips. The party ended up burning someone's truck."
The fire was isolated to the wooden cross members supporting the flatbed. "The truck had no value," Huff said.