Generator apparent cause of Central Point building blaze

A fire apparently started Thursday night by a gas-powered generator led to the destruction of a shop and living quarters on the 5900 block of Upton Road in Central Point.

The fire first started at about 10 p.m. Thursday, after a piece of cardboard — placed on top of the generator to protect it from falling snow — caught fire, according to Fire Marshal Hugh Holden of Jackson County Fire District 3.

Residents of the 2,400-square-foot shop, which was partially converted into living quarters, found the flaming cardboard and extinguished the fire, or so they thought.

The fire rekindled after the three residents, whose names were not released, fell asleep, and began to engulf the building at about midnight, said Holden.

The generator, the residents' only source of power, was running against an outside wall and being fueled by a gas tank inside the building, said Holden.

"It was all kind of jerry-rigged," Holden said.

Jackson County Fire District 3 responded to the incident at about midnight, and had the fire reduced to smoldering rubble and smoke by 1:30 a.m. The Medford Fire Department was also called in for support.

Because of the instability of the structure, firefighters waited until an excavator arrived on scene to tear down the remnants of the building at about 11 a.m.

Firefighters called the fire out and left the scene at noon on Friday. Holden said this type of fire, which re-ignites after apparently being extinguished, isn't out of the ordinary.

"This sort of thing is common; when people think they have a fire out and a few hours later they wake up to their home burning," he said.

"When folks have a fire they need to call the fire department ... . We have the training to make sure a fire is out," Holden said.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4468 or e-mail at samuelcwheeler@gmail.com

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