Philomath Fire & Rescue artwork
BRAD FUQUA, PHILOMATH EXPRESS

Philomath Fire & Rescue responded during the early morning hours Feb. 27 to a structural fire in Burnt Woods.

A mutual aid request from Lincoln County came into the local fire department at 4:54 a.m. through dispatch. The call indicated that a trailer fire was threatening a shop on Bennett Lane.

According to Fire & Rescue's report on the call, crews upon arrival found a "fully-involved" motor home and exposure fire on the west side of an adjacent shop structure.

"The homeowner had a garden hose and was putting water on the shop wall," the report reads. "Our Engine 231 extinguished the vehicle and shop."

Fire & Rescue pulled two 1-3/4-inch, 200-foot hose lines and put water on the blaze to stop its spread.

"Once the fire was under control, crews began extinguishing hot spots and began overhaul activities," the report reads.

Philomath's Water Tender 244 then arrived at the scene to provide an additional 3,000 gallons of water and assisted with the overhaul, according to the report.

The motor home was a complete loss with fire and smoke damage to the shop.

An interview with the homeowner revealed that a man sleeping in the motor home woke up to flames near a built-in refrigerator where a space heater was located.

"It is surmised that the space heater ignited combustible materials," the report reads.

A smoke detector woke up the man and he was able to escape the smoke and fire.

Cpt. Rich Saalsaa, fire and life safety officer, said people need to take care when using portable space heaters by making sure they are on stable ground and nothing combustible is within at least 3 feet.

"Portable heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet," Saalsaa said. "Do not use an extension cord if the heater is being continuously used."

Saalsaa also said the incident served as an example of a smoke detector saving someone's life.

"We are coming up on daylight savings and it is a good time to check your detectors and replace the batteries," Saalsaa said. "If your smoke detector is more than 10 years old, it needs to be replaced."

Saalsaa said new detectors come with 10-year batteries in them.

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