Firefighters stay busy in trio of fires which claim two homes

Hood River Valley fighters spent a hot weekend mopping up at two separate blazes that destroyed one structure and damaged two others.

The first alarm sounded about six p.m. on Saturday and sent the Hood River Fire Department scrambling to a duplex fire on Sieverkropp Road in the Heights. They arrived to find both units in flames that had sent embers showering onto other properties. Their problems were compounded when an attic fire was sparked in a neighboring house on Kropp Court. Firefighters from West Side, Odell, Pine Grove, Parkdale and Mid-Columbia swarmed to the scene but were unable to prevent the roof from collapsing into the duplex, which was destroyed. A shed in another nearby yard also burned. Flames torched the lawn of a third home, but the structure was undamaged.

Fire Chief Don Petito said the attic fire was extinguished in the other structure but it sustained damage from smoke and water. The Red Cross arranged temporary lodging for Lisa Mauroni and Laney Gale, duplex residents, and homeowners Ken and Tovy Anderson. Volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program, a victim assistance group, provided moral support for the families during the crisis.

The state fire marshal surveyed the scene on Monday but has not yet rendered a decision about the cause of the blaze.

However, Sunday’s destruction of an abandoned house on Riordan Hill Drive has been termed “suspicious in nature.” West Side Fire Marshal Jim Trammell said the residence had been left unlocked and vacant for many years. In addition he said there was no electrical service to the structure so the cause of the blaze cannot be faulty wiring.

“There’s nothing there that could have started it unless someone had been in there doing something like burning a candle,” he said.

West Side was paged to the scene about 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 28 after the owner of the structure, John Piatt, passed by and found it on fire. The house was fully engulfed when West Side arrived and they called in other valley fighters to help knock the aging wood down into the basement where the blaze was finally extinguished. The flames had also crept into the nearby underbrush and the Oregon Department of Forestry helped to extinguish the wildfire that consumed about one-fourth of an acre of dry grass and vegetation.

“Our biggest concern was that the fire would go up the hill and get into other structures but we were able to knock it down,” he said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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