Candle sets house ablaze

A candle burning in a bedroom most likely ignited the second-story fire at 1015 Columbia St. on Sept. 30, said Hood River Fire Chief Devon Wells.

“The investigation is still open, but it looks like the cause was located at the candle,” said Wells of the blaze that quickly engulfed the two upstairs bedrooms in the home of Cindy Walbridge.

Just before 8 p.m., the family discovered fire in an upstairs bedroom, and called 9-1-1. According to Wells, the family got out of the building quickly — “which was the correct decision,” he said. The family was uninjured and their pet cats and guinea pigs were rescued as well.

“Fire was coming from eastside second-story windows when we arrived. Crews hit the fire from outside and darkened it while a second crew went inside and put it out.”

According to Wells, the fire damaged the rooms’ sheet rock and contents with no apparent structural damage. Slight water damage occurred downstairs from suppression efforts.

Six vehicles responded to the scene with crews from Hood River, Cascade Locks, West Side and Odell working together — about 25 firefighters in all.

“This was completely accidental — and it happens to a lot of people. It is getting to be that time of year with people burning candles, using extension cords for heaters and heat tapes,” said Wells. “Any nearby fabrics can overheat and catch on fire very quickly.

“Make sure no candles left on when you leave a room. Make sure candles are in or on non-combustible containers. Use plates underneath. People just really need to have a heightened awareness about heat sources this time of year.”

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