Fire destroys rural home

A retired couple escaped safely, but lost everything in a house fire in the middle of the night, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 said.

A smoke alarm awakened the woman, who smelled something and went to investigate, deputy fire marshal Don Hickman said. She saw sparks falling from the ceiling near the stovepipe and went to alert her husband and call for help. The fire in the 6400 block of Kentucky Drive was reported at 12:30 a.m. today.

The couple got out of the home wearing only their pajamas, Hickman said. A neighbor passing by offered the man a coat while they waited for fire crews to arrive.

Firefighters from Central Point got to the rural neighborhood between Central Point and Gold Hill in 10 minutes. They reported that flames 40 feet high leapt from the center of the double-wide mobile home when they arrived.

Water trucks had to shuttle water up narrow roads to the fire, which crews battled from outside, Hickman said.

He estimated the home and its contents were a total loss. A collection of stuffed toys dating back 30 years was among the items lost, he said. Firefighters salvaged some rifles and a pistol, which will be returned to the homeowners.

"It was a tragic loss, but the saving grace is that they had a smoke alarm, they got out and they stayed out," Hickman said.

The owners had insurance and are getting help from the Red Cross to replace medication and other immediate needs. The fire district provides a checklist to help people manage the details after a fire.

Hickman said this was the fourth apparently chimney-related fire in recent months in the district.

— Anita Burke

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