Medford firefighter Mark Trautz cools a Page Road garage fire that destroyed a van sitting on jacks and set off a series of explosions. - Bob Pennell

Fire rips through east Medford garage

A garage fire touched off several explosions that rocked an east Medford neighborhood Friday night.

Medford fire investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze, which began at around 9 p.m. on Page Street, a small residential lane that sits off Crater Lake Avenue.

The blaze spread quickly throughout the garage and consumed a van parked inside.

Ray Eastin was visiting a friend in the neighborhood when smoke and explosions filled the air.

"They were loud, one right after the other," Eastin said. "I was afraid someone might be in (the garage)."

A Medford Fire Department station is nearby and engines were on the scene in minutes, Medford fire Capt. Sean Fey said.

"When we arrived, the residents were out of the garage," Fey said.

The quick response probably saved the house attached to the garage, Fey said.

Crews hit the flames with a water cannon that spews 1,000 gallons per minute. Firefighters moved cautiously at first as the heat and explosions were a concern.

"When you have explosions it gets your attention," Fey said.

Soon, the cannon knocked down the flames enough that crews were able to attack the garage with fire hoses at a closer range.

The fire was doused within minutes.

Fey said the explosions probably were caused by propane bottles inside the garage.

The fire filled the neighborhood with smoke for close to an hour. Smoke was visible for several blocks and briefly clouded visibility on Crater Lake Avenue.

"We will probably be out here for several hours mopping up and trying to determine what started this fire," Fey said.

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