Cause remains uncertain in Central Point house fire

Fire investigators have identified the starting point of a Wednesday fire that heavily damaged a house on Lotus Lane in Central Point, but haven't determined exactly what caused the blaze.

Jackson County Fire District No. 3 Fire Marshal Hugh Holden said the investigation showed that the fire started in the foyer at the front of the house in the 2100 block of Lotus Lane.

While the cause remains undetermined, investigators suspect that either an electrical problem or smokeless gunpowder used for reloading ammunition could be possible causes, he said.

The homeowner reloaded his own ammunition and had supplies stored near where the fire started. The smokeless powder could have caused the popping sound homeowner Frances Gilchrist heard at the start of the fire around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, officials said.

Four engines and about 16 firefighters responded and stopped the flames before they spread all the way through the home, where the Gilchrists have lived since 1954. An ember briefly rekindled at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, but didn't cause additional damage, fire officials said

Holden estimated the loss from the fire at between $150,000 and $200,000. He said the homeowners had insurance and were getting help from the Red Cross and family who live in the area.

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