Fires ruin Odell homes

Electrical cord overload is the suspected cause of two destructive house fires in Odell over the past week.

On Saturday at 6 p.m., Odell Fire Department responded to a fire at the home of Eliezer and Amelia Flores in AGA Mobile Home Park. Fire gutted the structure, causing $50,000 damage. The Flores and their two children were not home, and are currently staying with neighbors, said Odell fire chief Jeff Walker.

Fire caused $150,000 to the home of Bobby Shewey on Bartlett Road on April 17 at 2 p.m., Walker reported. The home was destroyed, but the family had left an hour earlier to go into town, Walker said. Initially, firefighters believed a man and an infant were inside the home. The Shewey family is staying with local relatives.

In both fires, Odell had help from firefighters from the Pine Grove and Westside fire departments, Walker said. No one was hurt in either fire. The Hood River Chapter of American Red Cross is providing assistance to both families, he said.

Walker urged homeowners to use extension cords appropriately and avoid using too many appliances on a cord. He said one way to reduce fire hazard is to install a power strip with a circuit breaker.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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