A Medford firefighter digs through a large stack of smoldering firewood coated in fire retardant foam behind a shop at 1782 Jasmine Ave. in southwest Medford. - Bob Pennell

Meat smoker ignites shop

A homemade meat smoker left unattended started a fire that destroyed a shop next to a home at 1782 Jasmine Ave. in southwest Medford Thursday morning.

The man who lives at the home, Josie Clayton, built the propane-powered smoker 15 years ago and fired it up Thursday morning to smoke some salmon. Clayton left and the smoker ignited nearby combust-ibles, Medford Deputy Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe said.

The fire was reported at 8:42 a.m. Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Bierwiler said 10 fire trucks and 25 firefighters from Medford, Jackson County Fire District 5 and Jacksonville responded to the blaze, which they quickly knocked down.

Flames tore through a shed and spread to a workshop and a large firewood pile. Bierwiler said crews were concerned that the blaze could spread to adjacent homes, but confined it to the shop building.

Jasmine Avenue was open to local traffic only while fire crews worked.

Bierwiler said no one was home when the fire broke out. Neighbors reported it.

Terry Wiley, a neighbor who lives nearby on Minear Road, said he heard a boom and ran over to see what was happening. He saw smoke and flames coming from the building, then heard two more booms about 20 seconds apart as things inside the shop heated up.

Sletmoe said the fire caused about $40,000 worth of damage.

"The clear lesson here is not to leave flame-powered devices unattended," said Sletmoe.

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