Candle sets house ablaze

A candle burning in a bedroom most likely ignited the second-story fire at 1015 Columbia St. on Sept. 30, said Hood River Fire Chief Devon Wells.

“The investigation is still open, but it looks like the cause was located at the candle,” said Wells of the blaze that quickly engulfed the two upstairs bedrooms in the home of Cindy Walbridge.

Just before 8 p.m., the family discovered fire in an upstairs bedroom, and called 9-1-1. According to Wells, the family got out of the building quickly — “which was the correct decision,” he said. The family was uninjured and their pet cats and guinea pigs were rescued as well.

“Fire was coming from eastside second-story windows when we arrived. Crews hit the fire from outside and darkened it while a second crew went inside and put it out.”

According to Wells, the fire damaged the rooms’ sheet rock and contents with no apparent structural damage. Slight water damage occurred downstairs from suppression efforts.

Six vehicles responded to the scene with crews from Hood River, Cascade Locks, West Side and Odell working together — about 25 firefighters in all.

“This was completely accidental — and it happens to a lot of people. It is getting to be that time of year with people burning candles, using extension cords for heaters and heat tapes,” said Wells. “Any nearby fabrics can overheat and catch on fire very quickly.

“Make sure no candles left on when you leave a room. Make sure candles are in or on non-combustible containers. Use plates underneath. People just really need to have a heightened awareness about heat sources this time of year.”

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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



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