By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
An early morning blaze at a Keizer severely damaged a home, but the four sleeping residents managed to escape injury.
The lack of a working smoke detector in the residence had Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan urging all residents to check their existing smoke detectors and urgiong those without one to make the purchase.
The Keizer Fire District responded to the report of a house fire shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, May 20. When units arrived on scene they observed heavy smoke and flames coming from the rear of the single family residence at 5453 Verda Lane.
Arriving fire crews found fire burning on an exterior wall at the rear of the structure of the residence. The flames had traveled into the attic space and were spreading through the residence.
The home sustained substantial fire damage. Damage to the residence was estimated at $175,000 and damage to the contents was estimated to be $50,000.
The home’s four occupants were asleep at the time of the fire. The McClain’s woke to heavy smoke in their home, but did not have a working smoke alarm. They were able to safely escape from the fire and call 9-1-1, but a dog and two cats perished.
Fire investigators have determined the fire started on the outside of the exterior wall near a charcoal BBQ. The fire burned under the siding and into the interior wall and then traveled up the inside of the wall into the attic space.
Fire officials would like to remind residents to take caution when using cooking grills near homes and other combustibles. The grill and coals stay hot long after it has been used. Grills should be at least three feet from combustibles.
Four engines, two medics, one duty officer vehicle, one ladder truck, one fire investigation vehicle and 25 firefighters responded to the incident. Marion County Fire District One and Salem Fire Department responded as mutual aid to the call.