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Multiple-alarm fire destroys 17th St. home in Hood River

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

August 30, 2006

A four-alarm fire at 608 17th St. in Hood River Friday afternoon left a home a smoking skeleton.

Hood River Fire Chief Jeff Walker said the cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical problem located outside on the deck.

Homeowners Ed and Patsy Prideaux escaped without injury. They called 9-1-1 after discovering the fire burning outside of the house on the deck, which it apparently did for several minutes before they saw it. The fire caused $300,000 in damages.

Walker said the fire spread rapidly and into the attic of the home due to the rupture of the natural gas line in the home, which kept feeding natural gas to the fire.

Firefighters cut holes in the roof in order to vent the fire. Walker said the fact that there were orange flames billowing forth was due to the gas and made it impossible for the firefighters to extinguish. Instead they were limited to stopping its spread until the gas line was shut off.

A four-alarm fire indicates that all fire departments within Hood River County have been called as well as additional fire service to cover the city. About 20 firefighters from West Side, Pine Grove, Odell, Parkdale and Cascade Locks fire departments responded to fight the blaze.

Firefighters and paramedics from Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue in The Dalles provided coverage for the city of Hood River during the blaze.

“They did respond to a few medical calls while we were on the fire,” said Walker.

Such coverage is common under agreements worked out between fire districts and departments.

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The Prideauxs were able to salvage some belongings from the home. They are staying in a motel until they find a temporary home, according to Walker.

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