A pre-dawn fire on Dec. 28 destroyed a farmworker family’s home on the McCarthy Orchards property south of Parkdale.
No one was in the home and the residents, the Jose Muro family, were in California at the time.
Parkdale firefighters were dispatched at 5 a.m. to a reported ground cover fire involving a tree off Clear Creek Road. Chief Mike McCafferty said he arrived and found the home fully involved; assistance came from all agencies in Hood River County, and Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire was a total loss, McCafferty said.
“They are grateful they were not home and no one was hurt, but are very sad because they lost many valuable documents, such as their passports, and many personal items including family photos,” said their employer, Mike McCarthy.
He said the family has a stipend to get started again, and has settled into another house on the property: An H2A guest worker house equipped with furniture, bedding and kitchen items. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, according to McCafferty. A family friend had been in the home the night before to stoke the wood stove, but McCafferty said there has been no determination of a connection.
“Initially, we didn’t know if it was occupied,” McCafferty said. “At first, a neighbor told me they were at home, and then we were told they were away visiting.”
The family was notified by phone while fighters were still on scene, he said.