Medford apartment fire started by cigarette

    Medford Fire-Rescue released this early photo of the Valley Pines apartment fire, taken by Barbara Adams, which shows the fire began on the third-floor balcony.

    A Friday afternoon apartment fire that sent one person to the hospital, killed two cats and displaced three families began with improperly discarded cigarettes, according to Medford Fire-Rescue.

    Investigators have ruled the three-alarm fire at Valley Pines Apartments on Royal Avenue started accidentally, caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials,” according to a Medford Fire-Rescue update.

    Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Parks led the investigation, and Medford police detectives aided Deputy Fire Marshals Tanner Fairrington and Samantha Metheny in corroborating numerous witness statements, which determined that the fire started on the third-floor balcony before spreading to the apartment and exterior balconies of the two units below.

    The fire, first reported at 2:07 p.m. Friday, brought firefighters from three agencies and Medford police to the scene within minutes, and was largely knocked down by 2:30 p.m. according to earlier news reports. Police and firefighters attempted to rescue two cats by performing animal CPR and transporting them to an emergency veterinary clinic, but both animals ultimately succumbed to injuries caused by the fire.

    Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Medford police officer Rob Havice and detective Shannon Reynolds aid firefighters attempting to rescue a cat during the apartment fire.

    Three families who were displaced by the fire are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross, according to Medford Fire-Rescue.

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