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Witnesses report 'explosions,' people fleeing house fire in Merlin

Photos courtesy Rural Metro Fire and Grants Pass Fire.

Rural Metro Fire said that the cause of the fire is being investigated as suspicious.

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 2:42 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 2:51 PM

MERLIN, Ore. — Authorities are investigating after a Merlin home caught fire early Friday morning, with witnesses reporting explosions and people driving away from the scene, according to Rural Metro Fire.

Firefighters from both Rural Metro and Grants Pass Department of Public Safety arrived in the 100-block of Cedar Valley Drive to find a single-story house half engulfed in flames.

"No occupants were located on arrival, and lacking information that everyone had escaped safely, firefighters initiated a rapid search of the home," Rural Metro said.

After clearing the house, firefighters concentrated on knocking down the flames before salvaging what they could of the burning home. Rural Metro said that the fire was declared under control within an hour.

Crews called a 2nd alarm, bringing in engine companies from multiple surrounding fire agencies. In all, 15 fire units and more than 30 firefighters came to the scene. Meanwhile, five more engines were "strategically placed" to cover any other incoming calls.

Rural Metro said that multiple explosions were reported, as well as vehicles fleeing the scene as the fire grew. No injuries have been reported, but authorities don't know anything about the status of the occupants at this time. The cause of the fire is being investigated as suspicious.

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives with the Josephine County Sheriff's Office at 541-474-5123 or Rural Metro at 541-474-1218.

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