Coffee roaster fire will close shop for a week

    A Medford coffee roaster and shop suffered an estimated $30,000 in damage in a two-alarm fire Tuesday evening.

    Oregon Mountain Coffee Co. on North Phoenix Road in Medford likely will be closed for up to a week after a roaster fire spread to its attic Tuesday, owner Ryan Burke said.

    The fire was reported at 5:02 p.m. at the coffee shop in the Albertsons shopping center at 930 N. Phoenix Road. The first fire engine arrived at 5:04 p.m. and found lots of smoke but no flames, Medford Deputy Fire Chief Larry Anderson said.

    As firefighters checked the building to make sure the fire hadn't spread, the fire began to burn again in the attic, damaging beams, Anderson said. Crews called a second alarm at 5:54 p.m., bringing all five of Medford's fire engines and one from Phoenix to the scene. About 22 people were involved in fighting the fire, which produced roiling smoke, but no flames that could be seen by people passing by. Crews from Jackson County fire districts 3 and 5 stepped up to help provide protection for the city during the fire.

    Damage was limited at the strip mall that houses Oregon Mountain Coffee. A neighboring Blockbuster video outlet and a Weldon's Cleaners were evacuated as a precaution but were not damaged, Anderson said.

    Burke, who has owned the coffee business with his wife, Marleece, for one year, said he was roasting a large order of coffee for a commercial customer Tuesday afternoon. He had just finished the last batch of that order when the fire started. He said it appeared that an exhaust system on the roaster had malfunctioned and caused heat to build up. A flue fire started, then spread into the attic.

    On Wednesday, fire inspectors determined that a fan vacuum unit, which sucked smoke and debris from the roaster, failed, Anderson said. The fire started there, then ignited adjacent beams in the attic, he said.

    The Burkes cleaned up at the shop Wednesday and gave their four employees some time off until repairs are made. Ryan Burke said he hopes to have loyal customers fully caffeinated again in no time.

    "As soon as we can get them coffee, we will," he said.

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