Garage destroyed, home damaged in Pine Grove fire

Bill Baskins, Wy'East Fire District assistant fire chief, sprays water on the remains of a garage torched by fire Wednesday morning on Mohr Drive.

Photo by Patrick Mulvihill
Bill Baskins, Wy'East Fire District assistant fire chief, sprays water on the remains of a garage torched by fire Wednesday morning on Mohr Drive.

A family in Pine Grove evaded injury when a fire incinerated the garage at their home on Mohr Drive Wednesday.

The garage was a total loss — charred beams and rubble remained — but the attached manufactured house wasn’t completely destroyed.

Wy’East Fire Chief Greg Borton said fire or heat damaged siding on the north end of the home and part of the attic.

At about 10:26 a.m. on Aug. 23, emergency crews were dispatched to the home on Mohr Drive, just off Eastside Road. The small neighborhood is surrounded by pear orchards.

Three members of the Pedroza family were at home when the fire broke out: two children and their grandfather. All made it out safely, according to Borton.

Emergency crews heard several explosions burst from inside the garage. Smoke billowed from the structure in a column visible from Highway 35.

Borton said the grandfather in the family thought quickly by shutting the metal door that leads into the house. That step may have saved the home from total destruction.

“He closed the front door, which stopped any flames” from spreading into the house, Borton said.

The man then led his two grandchildren out of the doublewide. Though nobody was hurt, the youths were scared, Borton noted.

A squad of fire engines and crews from all valley fire agencies responded to the scene. Firefighters sprayed jets of water on the structure, keeping up the attack until they doused all the hotspots in the garage’s smoking remains. Crews entered the house with shovels and other tools to handle destroyed material and siding.

At about 12:30 p.m., the fire team command was terminated.

On Thursday, Borton said the fire originated in the garage, but its specific cause remains under investigation.

He said the Pedroza family has been staying with relatives who live nearby. Some members of the family are employees at Lage Orchards, based in Pine Grove.

Personnel from the Hood River, West Side, and Parkdale fire departments, and Oregon Department of Forestry teamed up with Wy’East for the fire and emergency response. Hood River County Sheriff Matt English and deputies assisted.

Wy’East also responded to a fire on Thursday afternoon — an ignited bark pile at Broad-Mill Co. Truck Repair on Stadelman Drive in Odell. The eight-by-eight foot fire didn’t spread, according to Borton, and workers with the company quickly hit it with water. It did not become a major fire.

Threat levels for fire are at “extreme” for the Hood River Valley, much of which falls under Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon district.

A burn ban that took effect July 1 is still in place. Local fire districts are recommending that people also postpone agricultural burns until dry, hot conditions improve.

Borton said the community has been cooperative in heeding fire safety rules so far.

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