GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The grass fire pushed many residents out of their homes. Fire crews reported two structures were damaged by the flames but without the quick work of fire crews and homeowners, the total could have been much higher.
Zackery Abel owns one of the home’s damaged by the fire. He got home from work and he began to fight flames. The fire was spreading from the grass to the side of his house. He didn’t have much time to decide but his dangerous gamble paid off.
“It’s a terrifying experience. Especially when you’re sitting there staring at flames right at your face. but when you just have a goal to do something and you’re determined, you just don’t feel anything. you just do it,” said Abel.
Abel grabbed his neighbors hose and ran toward the fire.
“Just trying to keep it contained with my garden house. Didn’t do a whole lot but you know, it helped a little bit,” explained Abel.
Half a dozen firefighters, two fire trucks and Abel worked to keep the flames away from his home. The flames charred the side of his home and damaged the rafters. But the fire left a lasting mark on Abel — the thought of losing a home he built with his step-father from the ground up.
“I just watched it go from there to this beautiful house and we keep on working on it and slowly but surely it’s getting better. and I just didn’t want it to go down,” said Abel.
For other homeowners like Judy Imel, she didn’t know there was a fire.
“I saw the smoke, smelled the smoke. But I didn’t know there was a fire. There were a lot of police officers in our neighborhood and motorcycle police officers riding around. A lot of smoke and they told us to evacuate,” said Imel.
Imel packed several pictures she didn’t want to leave behind.
Both Imel and Abel have lived in Grants Pass for several years and say this is the first time they’ve been aware of a fire of this magnitude near their home.
The second structure damaged in the fire was an outbuilding. It was not a home.