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One alarm fire, six-figure smoke

Owing to swift response from firefighters, an Ashland house fire was knocked down before it spread to nearby neighbors.

Damages from smoke are estimated at more than $200,000 from the fire, which sparked outside 524 Fordyce St. at 12:37 p.m. Tuesday. It drew crews from Ashland Fire & Rescue, Jackson County Fire District 5 and Oregon Department of Forestry within minutes, according to Ashland Division Chief Chris Chambers.

“They got here within five minutes and started stretching hoses,” Chambers said at the scene.

The fire, which briefly sent a column of smoke visible from south Ashland, also closed Fordyce Street near the Old Willow Lane intersection while crews knocked down the blaze.

The fire began outside the home in the back, but Chambers said a definitive cause isn’t yet known. A fire marshal was just beginning an investigation Tuesday afternoon, according to Chambers.

No people or pets were harmed in the fire. At the first report, responders feared that someone could be inside before dispatchers confirmed everyone inside the home had evacuated.

The swift response prevented the fire from spreading to nearby structures in the neighborhood, which Chambers described as a risk when the weather is warm and dry with moderate winds. He said that had the fire struck an area with more wildland-type fuels, they may not have been so lucky.

“On a warm, windy day things can get a lot worse pretty quickly,” Chambers said.

At the scene, Chambers said the home wasn’t inhabitable, describing smoke damage as “almost worse than the fire itself” after a structure fire. In addition to leaving the burnt smell in the home, smoke and fire also puts off toxic chemicals that need to be removed.

The fire was the second structure fire in less than four days to cause significant damage. A fire along the alley between Alison and Fairview streets Friday evening caused an estimated $105,000 in damages, $85,000 to the structure and $20,000 to its contents. Cause of that blaze has not been determined, but it is known it started unintentionally on the outside of the structure.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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