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Trailer fire leaves family of 9 homeless – but thankful


A family of nine, including seven young children, escaped unhurt but was left homeless by an early-morning fire Wednesday. Despite the losses, the father of the family was grateful that no one was injured.

Crook County Fire and Rescue was dispatched around 2 a.m. to the report of a travel trailer on fire at an RV park about seven miles east of Prineville along the Ochoco Highway, said Fire Chief Matt Smith.

Crews arrived to find the seven children and two adults had safely left the fifth-wheel mobile home, said Fire Marshal Casey Kump.

Jason Gooding, still in shock over what happened, said he was just glad everyone was safe.

“My kids already knew what to do” in the event of a fire,” he said. “We’ve practiced a fire drill, because we’re in such a small space. And you have to get out quick, especially being in an old trailer.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the fire agency and Oregon State Police.

Both Jason and his wife Jessica, who is expecting their eighth child, said they’re grateful it’s just material things that were lost.

“That’s all I care about, my family — that was it,” Gooding said. “I don’t care about the trailer. Just as I told the investigators — rip it apart, figure out what happened.”

The American Red Cross responded to assist the family, which was put up temporarily at a Prineville motel. Smith said much of their belongings sustained smoke damage from the fire, which Kump said damaged the bathroom and kitchen area, leaving it uninhabitable.

The fire chief said the family’s trailer “was not destroyed, although because of the age of the trailer and the smoke damage to the contents, they are displaced and there are very few things that are salvageable.”

Jason said two appliances were not damaged, unlike everything else they had to leave behind in the family’s first home.

“The (burning) chemicals will never come out, the smell will never come out of the trailer, even if you rip everything out,” Jason said.

He said he had to rip open the window to get a hose into the back, bathroom area where the trailer was burning.

Gooding was able to salvage two important items: his wedding DVD, and the ultrasound of his next family member.

A Red Cross spokeswoman said Grace Baptist Church in Prineville has agreed to be a drop-off spot for donations, or those interested can send a check to the church at P.O. Box 1422, Prineville, OR 97754.

The sizes below are for the seven children, five boys and twin 18-month-old girls.

Caleb & Daniel: 8-10 pants & shirts

Ethan: 6/7 pants and shirts

Noah: 4-5 pants and shirts

Lucas: 2T-3T

Twin girls: 18-24 months

Kump said the family also has provided a contact for anyone wishing to assist them. Call Darcy Brace at 1-503-570-8604.

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