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Crews snuff nighttime blaze near Winco

A Tuesday night 911 call from someone who thought Winco’s roof was on fire led Medford firefighters to the actual source of the flames: a grass fire burning a stone’s throw from the grocery store and the nearby Adult Shop.

The first call to emergency dispatch came in at 9:26 p.m. from someone who had spotted flames while walking in the grocery store parking lot. From that angle, the fire looked as though it was burning on Winco.

“We actually responded as if it was a structure fire,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Justin Bates.

Crews tracked the flames’ source to brush and trees behind Winco, about 30 yards away from the Adult Shop, Bates said. A transient camp was right in the middle of it, he added.

“It was putting out a pretty good plume of sparks and embers and stuff like that,” Bates said. “The trees were going pretty good.”

Firefighters from four engines put out the fire in a matter of minutes. They remained on scene for another hour or so mopping up hot spots and making sure the flames did not reignite. No one was injured and no structures were damaged.

Crews could not figure out a cause overnight, but plan to go back out to the scene today.

The fire comes not long after several other fires ignited along the Bear Creek Greenway late last month, all amid a wildfire-pocked summer that yielded the worst air quailty in at least two decades. In those fires, Medford police suspect arson, as an investigation showed multiple fire sets. Two of those fires were on a stretch of the popular walking, running and biking trail that runs between the city’s Railroad Park and Biddle Road.

No arrests have been made, and no suspects have yet been identified by police.

“We’re kind of of keeping all options open,” said Lt. Mike Budreau.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at or at 541-776-4468.

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