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Fire destroys rural Oregon home

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 5:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 10:46 a.m. CDT
Caption
Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller sprays water on a home that burned Feb. 12. Photo by Chris Johnson

A home in the 3,000 block of North Blackhawk Road in Rural Oregon was destroyed by a fire last week.

Firefighters responded to a report of smoke at the home owned by Gregg Wessman at 2:35 p.m. Feb. 12.

Oregon assistant fire chief Randy Travis said they thought they had gotten the upper hand on the fire before it flashed up.

"When we got there we thought we could get it, but then the basement flashed over and we had to pull the crew out," said Travis. "We tried to send a crew in the front door and were forced out by the flames. This was one of the hottest we have had in a while. I was amazed on how quickly it spread throughout the home."

The walls and roof of the two-story home collapsed during the efforts to extinguish the blaze.

"Everything caved in during this fire," said Travis.

Tanker trucks were used to haul the water to the rural Oregon home.

"We tried getting two tankers on the driveway but ended up needing to relay the water through a five inch hose from the road," Travis said. "The water needed to be hauled a long way from town for this three alarm fire."

With the speed of the fire Travis said extra tankers would have only delayed the inevitable.

"It took two hours to control the fire and after 45 minutes we knew extra tankers would not of helped save the home," he said.

The speed of the fire caught firefighters off guard. Their engine was parked near the garage and ended up almost too close to the fire.

"We had to protect our engine because we did not expect the home to go up that quick," said Travis.

Firefighters saved a skid loader, woodworking equipment, and the garage.

Everyone got out of the house safely.

"There were no injuries today and we are very fortunate," said Travis.

Travis said the homeowner and his two and a half year old grandson were at home when the fire started.

"Everyone is safe," Wessman said. "We will rebuild."

The fire department removed some cans of fuel from the lower level garage when informed by the homeowner.

"They helped us know about the fuel so we safely removed it before the fire spread," said Travis.

At least eight fire departments responded to the scene including Oregon, Mt. Morris, Stillman Valley, Byron, Ashton, Franklin Grove, Ogle Lee, and Lynn Scott Rock.

They were assisted at the scene by the Oregon Ambulance.

The roads from Oregon to the fire scene were salted by Rockvale Township to help prevent a buildup of ice on the road.

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