Other challenges; exploding ammunition, flammable liquids
La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A La Pine-area homeowner was injured when he tried to stop a garage fire from spreading into the home Wednesday evening, but fire crews were able to rescue a variety of trapped pets by moving them to a bedroom spared by the blaze, Fire Chief Mike Supkis said.
La Pine Rural Fire Protection District crews responded just after 6 p.m. to the reported structure fire in the 53000 block of Big Timber Drive, Supkis said.
A total of 14 firefighters and four support personnel on an engine, three tenders and various command vehicles arrived to find a fully involved attached garage fire extending into a home.
Supkis said a vehicle in front of the garage also was burning, as crews encountered exploding rounds of ammunition and flammable liquids burning.
The residents and two dogs had escaped the fire with the help of first-arriving law enforcement and fire crews, Supkis said, but several other pets were trapped inside, including another dog, two cats, large snakes, gecko, fish and chickens.
Firefighters quickly rounded up the animals and “inventively, rather than place them out in freezing weather, moved them to an uninvolved bedroom and protected them with positive pressure ventilation and hose streams until the fire was controlled and they could be removed to a safe environment,” Supkis said in a news release.
One resident suffered smoke inhalation and first-degree burns when he tried to fight the fire with a handheld fire extinguisher, the fire chief added.
The fire destroyed the garage and contents, while the home sustained significant damage, as flames extended into the attic space over the living area.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Supkis said “investigators are looking closely at a portable heat lamp, which was being used to keep the chickens warm.”
Fire crews were on the scene for about two hours, he said. The American Red Cross was contacted to offer disaster aid to the family, as the home is now uninhabitable.