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La Pine family narrowly escapes burning home

La Pine family hit hard by fire
Max Goldwasser/KTVZ
A La Pine family barely escaped when fire tore through their mobile home late Sunday night

But one of their two dogs perished in blaze

(Update: adding comments from homeowner, neighbor)

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A La Pine family narrowly escaped a fire late Sunday night that destroyed their home, but one of their dogs perished in the blaze, officials said.

La Pine Rural Fire Protection District crews responded around 11:25 p.m. to the fire in the 52000 block of Pine Forest Road on a report of a home fully ablaze, with animals trapped and the flames extending to nearby vehicles, Fire Chief Mike Supkis said.

Alice Silva lived in the manufactured home with her daughter and 4-year-old grandson, the fire chief said. The family first noticed the fire in a wall of the home, which had two working smoke detectors. But Silva said they didn't sound until everyone had evacuated from the burning home.

Silva told NewsChannel 21 she was sleeping on the living room couch when she woke up to the smell of smoke. She said she noticed a glow coming from in between two panels on her living room wall. That glow sparked and then spread through the home.

"We would have died if I had not been sleeping in there where the fire started," she said.

Supkis said the residents "were surprised how quickly the smoke and fire spread and were just able to evacuate" in time.

Next-door neighbor LeRoy McMillan told NewsChannel 21, "When they said it was really bad, that's when I came through the dining room window here, and it was big flames. I mean high, tall flames. It was really burning out of control. Personally, I've never seen a fire that bad."

A total of 21 firefighters responded, finding the home and two vehicles ablaze. Supkis said they were able to stop the fire from reaching a nearby garage and RV on the property, which also had an occupant. They also stopped the flames from reaching the surrounding forest and threatening neighbors' homes, he added.

The area has no fire hydrants, so firefighters shuttled more than 25,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, Supkis said.

Firefighters found a family dog and cat that were at large, but an older dog didn't make it out of the home, officials said, adding that the home and all belongings were a total loss. Silva said her nine other dogs did make it out, but her two orange long-haired tabby cats were still missing.

The American Red Cross sent a disaster response team to assist the family.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Supkis said the occupants noted the 45-year-old manufactured home had ongoing electrical issues. The fire district had responded last December to an electrical fire in the wall of the home.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

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