Jackson County Fire District No. 3 crews work to extinguish a fire at a home on the 9800 block of Blackwell Road Friday morning. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

Fire heavily damages house in Central Point

CENTRAL POINT — A house in the 9800 block of Blackwell Road was seriously damaged by fire Friday morning, sending smoke into the sky that was visible from Interstate 5.

Jackson County Fire District No. 3 crews arrived at the house, located about seven miles outside Central Point, shortly after 9 a.m., dispatch records show. No one was home when the fire roared to life, and no one was hurt.

Harry Tibbils, who lives nearby, said he had been returning from town when he heard reports about a structure fire on the emergency scanner in his vehicle.

"I heard the address and looked up and thought, 'Son of a gun, I'm right there,' " Tibbils said.

He and another neighbor tried the front door to see whether anyone was inside, but it was locked. He added that he was able to catch a glimpse of the back patio burning before backing off to a safe distance.

Jackson County Fire District No. 3 responded to the scene with five fire engines and nine firefighters. Battalion chief Arlen Blenkush said crews arrived on the scene in about eight minutes to see the house about 50 percent involved in flames, most of which were coming from the back porch.

"It took about 10 minutes to get the fire under control," Blenkush said, adding that crews had it completely extinguished in about an hour.

The fire blew through several windows and did significant damage to the attic, back porch and interior of the house. Fire officials said they were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby structures.

The fire's cause is not confirmed, but officials said it started on the back porch and appeared to have started accidentally.

Crews remained on scene following the primary knockdown to cut ventilation holes and pull down portions of the ceiling so small fires wouldn't reignite in the attic space.

"There are always little smoldering bits in there," said Blenkush, adding that he didn't know whether the house was salvageable.

"It's really hard to say. There is significant damage," he said.

Reach Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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