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Category: Fire Calls

Fire consumes garage, renders home unlivable

On Wednesday, Dec. 26, the Keizer Fire Department responded a house fire that in the 1100 block of Summer Breeze Avenue North. 

The call was received at approximately 2:18 p.m.

Six emergency vehicles and 20 firefighters were used to put out the fire.

It was classified as a two-alarm fire.

According to Fire Marshal Anne-Marie Storms, the fire started when one of the residents of the house was working in the garage on two of his Ford automobiles from the 1960s. 

While the key was in the ignition of one of the cars, smoke started to come from the tail end of the vehicle — the owner initially thought that it was just exhaust. 

While the majority of the damage took place in the garage, the smoke did cause significant damage to the house as well and even got into the attic.

The cost of the damage is unknown at this point, but the house is currently unlivable according to Storms. 

New foundation will provide outside aid to Keizer Fire

Present and past members of the Keizer Fire District Board of Directors and other civic-minded leaders have joined together to form the Keizer Fire Foundation.

The mission of the foundation is support the training of Keizer Fire District firefighters and medical personnel, provide equipment and to provide supplemental support for the emergency services activities of the district for the residents of the Keizer area.

The foundation will promote the firefighting, lifesaving and education efforts of the Keizer Fire District.

Eventually the foundation will solicit project ideas from the public.

Currently financial donations may be mailed to PO Box 20183, Keizer, OR 97307. The board is asking Keizer residents to honor the foundation with bequests. Life-long supporters of the Keizer Fire District can be confident that their donations will have positive effects on the district and the citizens of Keizer.

Dave Bauer, a volunteer with the district for 30 years, a former Salem-Keizer School Board member and co-owner of R. Bauer Insurance, serves as president of the Foundation. Other officers include vice president Shawn Lapof, a Keizer resident, member of the board of directors of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and secretary-treasurer Chet Patterson, a member of the Keizer Fire District board of directors; he also served as one of Keizer’s first city councilors in the early 1980s.

Other board members include: Victoria Shinn, Karen Van Meter, Garry Whalen and Lyndon Zaitz. Keizer Fire District Chief Jeff Cowan serves as an ex officio member of the foundation’s board.

The foundation’s first project will be announced in the summer of 2018 and begin soliciting donations. Donations may be mailed to: Keizer Fire Foundation, P.O. Box 20183, Keizer, OR 97307.

Keizer Fire Foundation has been designated a 501(c)3 charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service which allows it to accept tax-free donations.

Couple needs help after fire

Debbie and Randy comfort each other while standing in the midst of what used to be their home just outside of Keizer. A fire on June 20 caused the couple to lose everything. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Debbie and Randy comfort each other while standing in the midst of what used to be their home
just outside of Keizer. A fire on June 20 caused the couple to lose everything. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Randy Wilson broke the promise he made on his wife Debbie’s birthday.

Randy often tells his wife to hurry up or move faster. The day before her June 20 birthday, Debbie mentioned her birthday wish: for Randy to not tell her once on her birthday to hurry up.

Randy agreed, but ended up breaking the promise the next day.

For good reason, however: he discovered their house was on fire and wanted to get out alive.

The Wilsons were getting ready to go to lunch on June 20 when disaster struck. They had noticed what seemed to be a lot of flies, so Randy went to the back of the 115-year-old home just outside of Keizer to investigate.

“The fire was covering over the back porch and flames were coming out of the pump house,” Randy said. “The basement and attic were engulfed and we didn’t realize it. It was already beneath, above and behind us. I opened the back door and the windows blew out. I told her to hurry up. I got the dogs out. Within one minute, it was all we could do just to get out.”

Debbie, Randy and their two dogs got out safely, though Randy had to go back in a couple of times since one of the dogs kept going back in.

Several fire departments responded, but the relative remoteness of the location – the Wilsons live about a half-mile off Highway 99 – meant the initial responding hydrant truck had trouble getting water on the fast-spreading fire.

Making things worse, Randy had a number of lawn mowers and weed whackers full of fuel, which only accelerated the blaze. Worse yet, Randy had collected a number of firearms and knives plus inherited a large collection from both his father and grandfather. Emergency crews kept their distance in fear of the constant popping noises being live ammunition, though Randy said that was actually the transformer popping.

“I just watched my house burn down,” Randy said. “It was burning so quick, I couldn’t believe it. The house was 115 years old, so it was like dry hay. It was the worst monster you could face.”

The Wilsons were safe, but lost everything. A Randy and Debbie Wilson relief fund has been set up at Wells Fargo. Even a safe with valuables was charred, since the door wasn’t latched all the way. Among the items lost were two ice cream birthday cakes for that evening.

“The one thing I’m grateful for is it could have been worse. It could have been much worse. If I hadn’t gotten her out…” Randy said, choking back tears. “No one got hurt.”

At the time, Debbie was worried about Randy, especially since he had to keep getting the dog out of the burning house.

“In the moment, you don’t think about material things. Then after you do,” Debbie said, noting she hasn’t found her engagement or wedding rings – and doesn’t expect to. “I’m just grateful we weren’t hurt. The smoke was coming so fast, it was just a black wall. There was just no time to think.”

The Wilsons have set up tarps and pulled out charred items, including a sword used in the battle of Gettysburg and a Native American blanket that was more than 300 years old. Sometimes the reality hits hard.

“You do a task and you go to get the item,” Debbie said. “Then you realize it burned up. It’s unreal. One moment I’m fine, the next moment I’m a wreck.”

Friends and neighbors have been helping out, in particular longtime family friend Charles ‘Bob’ Rictor as well as next door neighbors Juan and Josie Benavidez, who let the Wilsons put a camper up in their yard.

Randy, 54, wants others to learn from their misfortune.

“Don’t store fuel in your machines. If you have bad wiring, be aware of it and fix it,” said Randy, who believes faulty wiring near the washer and dryer started the blaze. “I don’t want anyone else to go through this. And make sure you insure what you’ve got. We had no insurance. I didn’t realize how cheap insurance would have been.”

Randy, a former certified butcher and artist, doesn’t know what to do next.

“We’re screwed, just screwed,” he said. “I’ve never asked for help my entire life. For the first time in my life, I’d accept it.”

Even three weeks after the blaze, Randy still was in shock as he looked over the remnants.

“It was heaven; it’s hell now,” he said of the home. “We’re doing great one moment, then we’re on fire. Just be safe. You can have your paradise and your slice of heaven one day, then it can go to hell real quick. I don’t want nobody else to go through this. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Keizer mom arrested after fatal fire

Photo courtesy Bryan Kliever
Keizer Fire District firefighters respond to a fatal apartment fire on Oct. 24, 2014. A 4-year-old died in the blaze. (Photo courtesy Bryan Kliever)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A Keizer mom was arrested Saturday, one day after her 4-year-old son died in an apartment fire.

Officers with the Keizer Police Department arrested 23-year-old Niya Breann Sosa-Martinez on charges of second degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, endangering the welfare of a minor and second degree child neglect. She was lodged into the Marion County Correctional Facility Saturday morning and is expected to make her first court appearance at 3 p.m. Monday.

The arrest came as authorities investigated a Friday afternoon fire at the Susan Court Apartments at 1178 Susan Court NE in south Keizer. Members of the Keizer Fire District responded to a call at the fourplex shortly after 2 p.m. on Oct. 24, assisted by Salem Fire Department, Marion County Fire District No. 1 and Rural Metro Ambulance.

Heavy smoke and fire engulfed the apartment where the deceased body of 4-year-old Andre Joaquin Sosa was found. An autopsy was performed Saturday in Clackamas by doctor Karen Gunson. Preliminary results indicated the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Oregon State Police are assisting with the investigation and in efforts to determine the cause of the fire.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call lead investigator, KPD detective Ben Howden, at 503-390-3713 ext. 3525.

Hot tub issues lead to fire

Craig Murphy/KEIZERTIMES
Fire destroyed the backyard of a home on Meadowlark Drive May 19, but damage to the house itself was minor.

 

 

By CRAIG MURPHY

Of the Keizertimes

Teri Silva knew the hot tub needed to be looked at.

This wasn’t what she had in mind.

Silva was in bed fighting a cold around 11 a.m. Monday morning when she heard some booms coming from the backyard of her house on the 1700 block of Meadowlark Drive NE.

Silva, her son and her son’s friends who were in the backyard were fine and Silva’s quick action kept most of the damage confined to the backyard area.

“It sounded like it was coming from the backyard, so I ran out there and got the hoses going while I tried calling 9-1-1,” Silva said.

Though her phone wouldn’t work, the garden hose did. All of the people involved were uninjured, while Silva’s two dogs were unscathed – though she didn’t know it at the time and tried to go back inside the house, only to be stopped by an Keizer police officer. Early in the afternoon, Silva was still trying to find her cat.

“We’d been having problems with the hot tub,” Silva said. “It keeps overheating and we’ve been having flow issues. I had the door open to access the underneath. We’ve been holding off having it looked at. That makes this harder.”

Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan showed the Keizertimes the charred remains of the backyard after crews put out the fire. The fire destroyed the hot tub, the deck around it, backyard furniture, windows along the back of the home and some of the back wall. A portion of grass and various trees also got scorched, as did the back of a neighbor’s shed.

The Keizer Fire District recommends that if your house is on fire, get away,” Cowan said. “Teri was worried about the dogs, so she went back inside but an officer grabbed her and they left.”

Cowan said the electrical portion of the hot tub arced and caught on fire, with the the flames quickly spreading underneath the plastic decking surrounding the hot tub.

It may have been burning underneath before the fire was visible,” Cowan said.

Cowan said his crew planned to board up the back of the house and secure the residence, allowing the family to stay in the house.

There was no immediate damage estimate.

Though shaken by the incident, Silva looked on the bright side.

It’s all be fine,” she said. “It’s in God’s hands. It could have been a lot worse. The fire could have come into the house.”

 

Man LifeFlighted from head-on collision

A Woodburn man was LifeFlighted from the scene of this head-on collision Thursday, Sept. 19.

The driver of a car that was hit head-on three miles north of Brooks at about 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, is being treated for serious injuries after being LifeFlighted from the scene to Oregon Health & Science University Trauma Center in Portland.

An Oregon State Police trooper witnessed the crash on Portland Road NE near Waconda Road NE. He started emergency medical care after requesting fire and medical response.

An investigation into the cause of the accident revealed a 2003 Ford Explorer driven by Ebelia Duran Negrete, age 49, from Woodburn, was northbound on Highway 99E near Waconda Road NE when it traveled across the centerline and collided head-on with a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant four-door driven by Jose Silverio Lopez Llamas, age 46, from Salem. An OSP trooper witnessed the crash and started emergency medical care after requesting fire and medical response.

Negrete escaped her vehicle and was taken to Salem Hospital with minor injuries, but Negrete had to be removed with specialized extrication equipment known as the “Jaws of Life.”

After 10 minutes of extrication efforts by firefighters, the critically injured and entrapped patient was freed from the vehicle and LifeFlighted to Portland with what were believed to be life-threatening injuries.

Negrete was cited by OSP for no operator’s license and failure to maintain lane of travel.

Marion County Fire District No. 1 were assisted at the scene by the Oregon Department of Transportation, LifeFlight Network of Oregon and the OSP.  The highway was briefly closed for emergency response and investigation. ODOT also assisted on scene.

 

 

Lighter may have sparked blaze behind Cotton Patch

Fire1

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Firefighters responded to a engulfed structure fire behind Cotton Patch at 4475 River Road N. Sunday afternoon.

No one was injured in the two-alarm blaze, according to Rod Conway, deputy fire marshal with the Keizer Fire District.

KFD officials are working with officers from the Keizer Police Department, but Conway said a possible cause was found.

“It was possibly a child playing with a lighter,” Conway said.

Brian Butler, incident commander, said the fire Keizer firefighters arrived in less than four minutes after the initial 2:44 p.m. call.

“It took about 30 minutes to get it contained,” Butler said.

Conway noted there was heavy damage in the structure, which he said is used by Copper Creek Mercantile for excess storage. Copper Creek’s store is next to Cotton Patch.

“I would say the damage will be at least $100,000,” Conway said. “Hay, straw and feed were all on fire. The back half of the structure was fully engulfed.”

Conway said there was no structural damage to the Cotton Patch portion of the building, but there is bad news associated with that.

“There’s no damage inside Cotton Patch, but there will be smoke damage inside, like we saw with the Men’s Wearhouse fire (in April).”

Child may have sparked apartment fire

A small boy had to be rescued from a fire at Partridge Apartments late Thursday morning, April 19.

By ERIC A. HOWALD
and JASON COX

Of the Keizertimes

A family escaped an apartment fire on Thursday, April 19, in a blaze authorities believe may have been started by a child.

The Keizer Fire District was called to the Partridge Apartments at 11:23 a.m. Resident Dave Eastman was returning from class on his bike when he pulled up to unit 3956.

“Smoke was just barreling out,” Eastman said. Eastman called 9-1-1.

A mother and two children were in the apartment when the fire started, said neighbors.

“Early reports indicate that a child playing with fire in the apartment, while his mother was sleeping, was the fire cause and firefighters had been to the residence before for a similar event,” Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan said.

There were no working smoke detectors in the home. One person attempted to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but it was ineffective.

The mother and youngest safely exited the apartment, but a young boy remained inside.

Donald Homer was visiting his cousin, James Rowe, in a nearby apartment and was walking by when he heard that a child was inside.

He called for his cousin and ran inside.

“I went right back into the back room where the fire was,” Homer said. “It was already going up into the top shelf of the closet.”

The child eventually got out unhurt. Homer described seeing two fires, one on the floor – possibly a pillow or mattress edge – and another on a closet shelf, with yellow smoke. He and another man were treated by Keizer Fire medics for smoke inhalation.

“It just started getting too much for me; my eyes were burning,” Homer said. “… I was even looking in between mattresses, thinking the kid might have hid there.”

Cowan said two engine and a medic unit were on the scene in three minutes and quickly extinguished a fire in the back bedroom of the ground-level apartment. An apartment above the unit where the fire started was also billowing smoke after the fire was extinguished. Keizer Police officers helped evacuate neighboring units.

The fire is still under investigation.

Target popcorn machine sparks electrical fire

An electrical fire started by the popcorn machine in Keizer Station Target snack area Wednesday, Oct. 19, drew a Keizer Fire District crew to the scene.
The call was received at 11:12 am for a fire at 6450 Keizer Station Blvd NE in Keizer. Arriving crews did not see any smoke and soon discovered staff had quickly extinguished the small blaze with a fire extinguisher.
The building was in the process of being evacuated when firefighters arrived. Firefighters ensured the fire was fully extinguished and assisted staff members with removal of the smoke from the building. Target was only closed to the public for a few minutes before they were able to reopen.
Three engines, one medic, one duty officer vehicle, one ladder truck, and 13 firefighters responded to the incident. No injuries were reported. Marion County Fire District #1 responded as mutual aid to the call.

Fire Calls: Feb 14 – Feb 21, 2011

Monday, Feb. 14

4:54 p.m. – Stone Hedge Drive NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

5:21 p.m. – Keizer Road NE. Wire down. Crew investigates.

7:21 p.m. – Chemawa Road NE. Chimney fire. Crew investigates.

7:21 p.m. – Chemawa Road NE. and Stadium Drive NE. Bleeding problem. Crew transports.

Tuesday, Feb. 15

1:02 a.m. – Chemawa Road N. Fall. Crew responds.

6:24 a.m. – Bever Drive NE. Fall. Crew transports.

8:28 a.m. – McGee Court NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

9:24 a.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Chest pain. Crew transports.

10:49 a.m. – Manzanita Street NE. Unconscious/unresponsive. Crew transports.

1:35 p.m. Inland Shores Way N. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

7:46 p.m. – Springfield Court N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

8:06 p.m. – Brooks Avenue NE. Fall. Crew transports.

9:31 p.m. – Crampton Drive N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

Wednesday, Feb. 16

6:22 a.m. – Country Glen Avenue NE. Bleeding problem. Crew investigates.

7:36 a.m. – Country Glen Avenue NE. Bleeding problem. Crew transports.

8:52 a.m. – Castle Pines Drive N. Public service. Crew responds.

9:05 a.m. – 7th Avenue NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

9:24 a.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

12:14 p.m. – River Road N. Chest pain. Crew transports.

1:06 p.m. – Plymouth Crive NE. Seizure. Crew transports.

2:11 p.m. – Riverwood Court N. Motor vehicle accident. Crew investigates.

2:58 p.m. – Plymouth Drive NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

5:44 p.m. – Plymouth Drive NE. Seizure. Crew transports.

6:56 p.m. – McGee Court NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

8:35 p.m. – Lockhaven Drive NE. Abdominal pain. Crew transports.

9:21 p.m. – Bever Drive NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

Thursday, Feb. 17

2:11 a.m. – Chemawa Road NE. Chest pain. Crew transports.

3:01 a.m. – River Road N. Back pain. Crew transports.

11:03 a.m. – Bever Drive NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

11:46 a.m. – Inland Shores Way N. Transfer. Crew transports.

12:44 p.m. – Snead Drive N. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

1:27 p.m. – Inland Shores Way N. Chest pain. Crew transports.

4:27 p.m. – Jorie Lane NE. Unknown medical. Crew responds.

6:03 p.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Diabetic problem. Crew responds.

7 p.m. – Clearview Avenue NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

9:08 p.m. – River Road N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

11:44 p.m. – Brookhollow Court NE. Chest pain. Crew transports.

Friday, Feb. 18

1:30 a.m. – Rivercrest Drive N. Public service. Crew investigates.

4:50 a.m. – Brandon Avenue NE. Crew transports.

8:12 a.m. – Country Glen Avenue NE. Fall. Crew transports.

8:35 a.m. – Weeks Drive NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

9:55 a.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

3:07 p.m. – River Road N. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

3:34 p.m. – Inland Shores Way NE. Chest pain. Crew transports.

4:33 p.m. – 10th Avenue NE. Natural gas leak. Crew responds.

8:34 p.m. – Homewood Court N. Seizure. Crew transports.

10:56 p.m. – Clearview Avenue NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

11:22 p.m. – Sandra Avenue N. Bleeding problem. Crew investigates.

Saturday, Feb. 19

7:25 p.m. – Snead Drive N. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

9:15 a.m. – River Road N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

11:09 a.m. – River Road N. Back pain. Crew transports.

12:26 p.m. – Ar;eta Avenue NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

4:11 p.m. – Springfield Court N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

6:04 p.m. – Keizer Station Boulevard NE. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

6:45 p.m. – Bever Drive NE. Diabetic problem. Crew responds.

7:36 p.m. – River Road N. Seizure. Crew transports.

7:59 p.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Fall. Crew transports.

8:43 p.m. – Snead Drive N. Unknown medical. Crew transports

9:54 p.m. – Hogan Drive N. Trauma. Crew transports.

11:26 p.m. – Windsor Island Road N. Fall. Crew responds.

Sunday, Feb. 20

7:01 a.m. – 13th Avenue NE. Breathing problem. Crew transports.

12:31 p.m. – Bever Drive NE. Transfer. Crew transports.

2:54 p.m. – Candlewood Drive NE. Allergic reaction. Crew transports.

5:31 p.m. – River Road N. Unknown medical. Crew transports.

Monday, Feb. 21

4:40 a.m. – Windsor Island Road N. Fall. Crew responds.

8:44 a.m. – Hidden Creek Drive NE. Medical Alarm. Crew transports.

8:54 a.m. – Arleta Avenue NE. Fall. Crew transports.

9:20 a.m. – Bever Drive NE. Chest pain. Crew transports.

9:55 a.m. – River Road N. Unconscious/unresponsive. Crew transports.

12:01 p.m. – Field of Dreams Way NE. non-structure fire. Crew investigates.

12:23 a.m. – Chemawa Road NE. Unknown medical. Crew responds.

3:45 p.m. – Windsor Island Road N. Fall. Crew responds.