Fire consumes shed on Belmont Drive

A PAINT CAN explodes in the above photo while firefighters battle a tool shed fire Wednesday morning at 3910 Belmont Drive. The shed was almost totally consumed by the blaze, which West Side Fire Marshall Jim Trammell suspected was electrical in ori-gin. No one was injured.

Photo by Ben Mitchell.
A PAINT CAN explodes in the above photo while firefighters battle a tool shed fire Wednesday morning at 3910 Belmont Drive. The shed was almost totally consumed by the blaze, which West Side Fire Marshall Jim Trammell suspected was electrical in ori-gin. No one was injured.

A tool shed on the west side of Hood River was reduced to little more than a pile of charred wood following a fire that quickly ripped through the structure Wednesday morning.

West Side Fire Department, Wy’east Fire District, and Hood River Fire and EMS responded to the home of Darin and Daniel Finn at 3910 Belmont Drive at just before 9:30 a.m. after receiving a call that flames were visible from a wood tool shed on the property.

Darin reported that he “heard banging” and thought it was his father chopping wood, but eventually realized that was not the case.

The banging sound was actually caused by paint cans stored inside the shed exploding from the fire’s extreme heat. The paint, as well as a gasoline can used to fill up the Finns’ lawnmower, fueled the flames that ultimately leveled the shed, with the exception of a lean-to used to shield bags of concrete mix and potting soil from the elements. Trees and a fence serving as a property boundary were also scorched by the blaze, but the Finns’ house, which lies only a few feet from the shed, was unharmed.

Darin said he built the 10-by-12-foot tool shed the past summer that doubled as a refuge for “feral cats” that he fed and allowed to sleep there. He did not know if any animals were present at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire was still undetermined as of press time, but West Side Fire Marshall Jim Trammell reported it was likely electrical in nature, indicating the presence of a handful of extension cords that could be seen running from the house to the detached shed. Darin reported that no appliances were switched on inside the shed at the time of the fire.

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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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