Closing doors could end up saving your home in the event of a house fire

Medford Fire-Rescue highlighted the 'fire rated door' that helped contain a raging fire in one family's garage.

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 12:23 PM
Updated: Jun 9, 2019 11:32 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A family living on Deer Ridge Drive in Medford escaped harm on Wednesday night when flames consumed their garage. Now Medford Fire-Rescue (MFR) is taking the opportunity to point out the family's "fire rated door," which appeared to keep the flames from spreading to the rest of the home.

"A fire rated door can often be the last barrier between you and a fire that could end up saving your life and your home. Same door, two sides, two separate outcomes," MFR said.

Desiree Anthony was watching a movie and eating dinner with her husband and two kids when they heard explosive noises coming from their garage.

"My husband cracked open the door to the garage and realized that it was glowing . . . smoke came in, so he just closed the door and said 'Get out,'" said Anthony.

Firefighters arrived at the home to find a "well-involved" garage fire. The Anthony family had already gotten out of the house, and stood with neighbors outside as fire crews did a brief search of the home before attacking the flames.

Ultimately, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading beyond the garage, although there was some smoke damage to the living room and several bedrooms. But the fire rated door — and the fact that it was shut when the fire broke out — contributed to the relatively positive outcome.

"Of course, a fire-resistant door can't perform its life-saving duties without the assistance of our quick and aggressive firefight, but taking preventative steps is the best defense to a devastating fire in your home," said MFR. "In addition, when the homeowner saw the fast-growing fire in the garage, he also made a great decision to shut the door before evacuating his family. This also serves as a great reminder to keep all doors (fire-rated, or not) closed, when possible."

The pictures above, provided by Medford Fire-Rescue, show both sides of the family's door. On the left is a view from inside of the home — where only a small amount of smoke damage can be seen. On the right is the view from the garage, where flames wreaked devastation.

"It was a one-hour fire resistant door, and you can see on the inside that it melted the weather stripping and everything . . . but there's black marks and that's pretty much it," said Anthony.

NewsWatch 12 reported earlier this week about how Medford has considered adopting stricter building codes that would make structures better able to withstand fires, particularly wildfires.

"This specific fire is a great example of why it is so important to follow the minimum levels of safety in the national building codes. Newer residential building codes require garages to be separated from living spaces with fire-rated construction," MFR said. "In this case, following the minimum national code requirements provided the family plenty of time to evacuate and limited damage to the rest of the living areas of the residence."

The Anthony home survived the fire, but smoke damage could still take up to six months to be cleaned out of the home. Regardless, shutting the garage door may have meant the difference between a major inconvenience and a total disaster.

Investigation of the fire's origin remains ongoing, but Anthony suspects that it began with electrical wiring in the ceiling of their garage.

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