Near the charred ruins of an east Medford house fire that sent two firefighters to the hospital and displaced six residents in two homes, Medford Fire-Rescue investigators sifted through the rubble searching for clues as to how the three-alarm fire started.
As of Thursday afternoon, a cause had not yet been determined in the Wednesday afternoon fire, which destroyed one house at 424 Bowmont Circle and heavily damaged another at 436 Bowmont, a cul-de-sac near Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.
An investigation started Thursday morning, according to Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Tanner Fairrington. What’s known so far is that the fire started near 424 Bowmont between an RV parked in the driveway and a garage, before spreading to the RV, the house and a neighboring home.
Fairrington pointed to extensive damage at the front of the RV as an indicator of where the fire started, though investigators are still sorting out further detail.
The fire quickly spread to the garage, before also spreading to the neighboring home to the south through a carport area.
Fairrington said the large amount of debris near where the fire started could make determining the actual point of ignition “exponentially more difficult.”
There’s a chance the exact cause of the fire could remain a mystery.
“It may go as an undetermined cause,” Fairrington said. “It just depends.”
Two firefighters were hospitalized Wednesday for minor injuries sustained during the fire, according to Medford Fire-Rescue, but had been released as of Thursday morning. One was treated for exhaustion, and another was assessed for injuries after a ceiling collapsed on him. Fairrington relayed reports that the two firefighters are “doing OK.”
No other injuries have been reported, but updated Medford Fire-Rescue reports show that one of the occupants at 424 Bowmont had to be rescued from the rear of the home after becoming trapped attempting to rescue a dog.
It’s unclear whether the dog survived. Neighbor Murali Penumarthy, who lives two houses away from the fire, relayed neighborhood rumblings the missing dog was found safe sometime after 7 p.m. Wednesday, but Medford Fire-Rescue couldn’t confirm.
Jackson County property records show that 424 Bowmont was a 1,694-square-foot home built in 1978 and owned by a Melonie Reel since 2005, and 436 Bowmont is a 2,056-square-foot home first built in 1977 and owned by James Kamps since June 2017.
Costs of damages had not been determined as of Thursday, according to Fairrington, but the fire visibly destroyed three vehicles at 424 Bowmont — the motorhome and a Hummer H3 SUV parked in the driveway, and a Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 convertible parked in the garage — and damaged the front of a commercial Ford van parked behind the motorhome.
The fire displaced a total of six people, according to the American Red Cross, though a call to a spokesman seeking further details wasn’t immediately returned. Four people were evacuated from 424 Bowmont, according to earlier news reports, and no one was home when fire struck the home next door.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.