Fire destroys Huntington home

By Chris Collins / The Baker City Herald

A Huntington home was leveled by a fire that also burned about a half-acre of brush Thursday afternoon.

The fire started in the bathroom of Wiley Harding Jr.'s home on

Malheur Line Road about five miles southwest of Huntington, said Eric

Bronson, Huntington fire chief. An exhaust fan overheated to start the

blaze in the 1970s-vintage double-wide mobile home, Bronson said.

There was no one home when the fire started, Bronson said. A neighbor called the fire department at about 2 p.m. Thursday.

"It probably was burned clear up before we left the fire station," Bronson said.

Harding and his significant other, Crystal Rothenberger, and her three sons lost all of their belongings in the blaze. The loss, which Bronson estimated at $20,000 for the house and $40,000 for the contents, was not insured.

Six firefighters remained at the scene until about 8 p.m. Thursday, the fire chief said. They brought a pumper truck, a brush truck and one support vehicle to the fire. There were no injuries. The family's one dog was outside and was not hurt, Bronson said.

A strong wind was blowing when firefighters first arrived. They contained the fire, extinguished the brush fire and protected a shop about 30 feet away with water hauled from a neighbor's small pond, he said.

The Red Cross responded and offered to assist the family, which also has received food and clothing from the community and housing through the school district, Bronson said.

The family has stayed with Harding's parents, Wiley Sr. and Carmen Harding, in Huntington since the fire. They will be moving to a school district-owned house this week, Carmen Harding said today.

The family is especially in need of a bed to fit her son's 6-foot-3-inch frame, she said. Clothing items for all family members also are needed.

13076840
The Baker City Herald
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