Fire Destroys Marie Callender’s

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Both Medford Fire and Rescue and Medford police continue to investigate an early morning fire that destroyed the Marie Callender’s restaurant on Biddle road.

When fire crews arrived part of the building already collapsed as it burned.  Crews said it was a defensive fight from the beginning, and now the investigation is at a halt until Tuesday because heavy machinery must be used to tear down the walls and make the scene safe for investigators to go inside the building.

Currently, investigators can only gather evidence from the outside of the building and its surrounds, as well as talk with witnesses who saw the fire.

Investigators are considering the fire suspicious, only in the sense that they cannot rule out arson.  They said they have an idea on how the fire was started but are waiting to get inside to verify their theory.

Fire officials said the fire was so big because the fog probably prevented people from seeing it, meaning it could have been reported late, and it was an attic fire which tends to spread fast.

“Once it gets into the attic, everything is combustible up there, and it’ll spread right through from one side to the other, “said Medford Fire Marshal, Greg Kleinberg.

NewsWatch 12 spoke with a representative of the company at the site today, but they declined to comment on what happens going forward and what this means for the store’s employees.


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  1. Annie says:

    Didn’t this same restaurant burn several years ago? Maybe it was called the Purple Plum then. Not sure but it is interesting…especially if it is the same one.

    1. Denise says:

      I was thinking the same thing!

  2. Cheryl says:

    When it was Wild Plum, a pressure cooker exploded but it wasn’t a total loss. Shortly after though, it was sold to Marie Callenders.

  3. Craig says:

    Many years ago the restaurant had an explosion in the kitchen. It may have been called The Wild Plum at that time. My wife and I have dined at this restaurant for over 25 years. We are going to miss the wonderful staff. It is too bad that this had to happen right at the holidays.

  4. Jonathan says:

    According to the Medford Mail Tribune dated September 30, 1998 the Wild Plum did not burn down. It says “The Medford restaurant made news in 1987 when a pressure relief device on a steam double-boiler failed, causing an explosion that blew out a large section of the building’s east wall, hurled debris 100 feet, collapsed part of the roof and injured two employees.”

  5. Bill says:

    Interesting fact that the restaurant opened 15 years ago on December 15, 1998

  6. Annie says:

    Yes. I remember now. I used to eat there occasionally when it was called the Wild Plum. Still, even tho it didn’t burn down then it was a fire. & 1 still needs to wonder.
    I feel bad for the staff who need the jobs. & right at Christmas.

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