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Fire guts Addictions Recovery Center in Medford, staff plans next steps

The staff at ARC are trying to make sure that their clients still receive the help they need after a fire struck the building on Sunday.

Posted: Nov 11, 2019 4:09 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2019 11:29 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — While fire crews investigate the cause of a fire at Addictions Recovery Center in Medford, the staff is working to make sure that their clients don't fall through the cracks in the meantime.

Firefighters responded to the burning building in the 1000-block of East Main Street on Sunday afternoon.

The now-scorched office building is home to Addictions Recovery Center (ARC), a nonprofit dedicated to helping those suffering from substance abuse receive treatment and support.

"No one was in the building at the time of the fire, and no one hurt. As you might imagine, this is an incredible blessing during what is otherwise a nightmare come true," ARC posted Sunday on Facebook. "In that regard, our sincerest gratitude is also offered to all our community partners for their outreach and concern."

ARC was closed on Sunday when the fire broke out, and had also planned to stay closed on Monday in observance of Veterans Day.

"Though our offices are closed tomorrow in observance of the holiday, an emergency meeting will be held to determine the manner in which services will continue starting Tuesday uninterrupted," the nonprofit said.

Now, with the fire complicating a return to their normal schedule on Tuesday, ARC staff told NewsWatch 12 that they are working on alternative locations for their clients to still receive group services.

Cameron O'Brien says that he has been in recovery for three months, receiving help through ARC.

"I could not go a day without using. I found myself, three months ago and a day, outside these doors — withdrawing from heroin," O'Brien said. "They got me into detox. They helped me through what I couldn't do on my own."

Staff will be on-site Tuesday during their normal hours to re-direct clients to new meeting spots, ARC said. The nonprofit is still working on a longer term plan for what to do next.

"It's heartbreaking," said O'Brien, standing outside of the burned and boarded-up ARC building. "I found out yesterday . . . and I'm grateful that nobody was injured, I'm grateful that I know they're going to rebuild and it's going to be even better."

"I do have a group here tomorrow morning at nine o'clock and any way that I can help out," O'Brien continued, "If they need help with dump runs or anything, I know there's a bunch of us in recovery that were talking about that, we'd be here in a minute . . . because this place has given us so much."

Brandon Orr, a former ARC client, echoed O'Brien's sentiments while surveying the damage.

"It's heartbreaking knowing that this place gives every single day all that they have to give back, and try to give fresh starts to people that are just in turmoil," said Orr. "To see this happening right now . . . it's heartbreaking."

While there was nobody inside the single-story wooden office building when the fire broke out, Medford Fire-Rescue said that one firefighter was taken to the hospital for a "fire ground related injury" during the fire.

Most of the fire damage was confined to the building's attic, Medford Fire-Rescue said, although the cause remained under investigation by Deputy Fire Marshals as of Monday afternoon — a process that could take weeks.

"It's unfortunate it happened, to say the least," Orr said. "But with no doubt, I'm willing to bet on everything that it's going to come back bigger and better than ever."

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