Blaze destroys White City home, displacing family of six

A fast-moving fire ripped through a White City mobile home early this morning, leaving a family of six homeless.

The Southern Oregon Chapter of the Red Cross and ACCESS have stepped in to assist Alisha and Stacy Yamashita and their four children, said Tony Hernandez, emergency services director at the Red Cross.

The fire was reported around 5:30 a.m., said Jackson County Fire District No. 3 officials. When fire crews arrived at the home at the Aloha Sun Mobile Park, 3600 Ave. G, flames leapt from the window of a front bedroom where the fire started and shot from doors and windows on both sides of the home, said Deputy District Fire Marshal Mike Thrapp.

The blaze quickly gutted the home, but the whole family and two dogs managed to escape, Thrapp said. Stacy Yamashita was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center because of smoke inhalation, and one small dog, which initially didn't want to leave the house, suffered some burns before dashing out the front door amid intense heat and flames.

"That's why we say get out and stay out," Thrapp said. "Don't try to collect animals or belongings."

The family told authorities that one of the daughters awakened to a strange smell in her room and saw flames near a space heater at the head of her bed. She quickly notified her mother, who attempted to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher.

As smoke alarms sounded, the parents sent their three elder children — ages 14, 12 and 10 — out of the trailer while Alisha Yamashita raced to grab her 2-year-old who was sleeping in a back bedroom.

Thrapp and other fire investigators are working today amid the charred rubble of the home and blackened skeletons of furniture to determine the cause of the fire.

— Anita Burke

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