Wednesday, May 9, 2012
“The haunted house” burned on Sunday.
A long-abandoned structure on Hazel Street near downtown was mostly destroyed in the fire, which is under investigation.
Willem Dickinson, 12, was among the first to see the fire flickering inside the house.
Neighbors refer to it as “the haunted house.” The large and dilapidated hillside structure has been vacant for 20 years.
Looking out his bedroom window overlooking Hazel Street at about 10:15 p.m., Willem saw the fire flickering in a window, and called out to his parents, who called 9-1-1.
“The firefighters were there in just a few minutes,” said Willem’s dad, Chip, “but it went up really quickly.”
Since the house was engulfed by flames when they arrived, and surrounded by high brush and debris, fire crews surrounded the blaze and poured thousands of gallons of water on it but did not send personnel into the building.
“We’re just lucky this didn’t happen in August,” said engineer Clancy Cox. “The trees would have been torched and the house (50 yards east) would have been in danger.”
Crews operated a defensive attack utilizing exterior handlines to suppress the fire. The abandoned three-story house is in the 700 block of Hazel Street and has been vacant for nearly 20 years, according to Fire Chief Devon Wells, who said the cause of the fire is under investigation and deemed suspicious in nature.
The fire was extinguished around midnight, with fire crews remaining on scene throughout the night to monitor the building.
Willem’s mother, Robin Dickinson, said the flames rose to 20 feet almost immediately.
“When I called 9-1-1 I said, ‘bring backup,’ because it was huge,” she said.
Fire crews from Hood River and Cascade Locks fire departments, along with West Side and Wy’East Fire Districts responded to the incident.
If anyone has information pertaining to the fire, please contact Devon Wells at Hood River Fire & EMS, at 541-386-9458.
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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge