Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Jayson Jacoby


A fire that destroyed an east Baker City home Saturday morning proved challenging to fire crews.

And determining the cause of the blaze could be harder still.

Several residents called 9-1-1 to report the fire about 6:30 p.m. at Thomas and Sharon Oliver's home at 555 Auburn Ave., said Tom Everson, assistant fire chief for the Baker City Fire Department.

Everson said he could see the plume of smoke when he left the fire station, and he could see flames as he crossed the Powder River bridge on Auburn.

"That tells you a lot," Everson said.

Sharon Oliver was home alone when she alerted by smoke detectors, Everson said.

She was able to escape her home and was not injured.

The home was insured, Everson said.

Firefighters were able to save a few items, but the home was a total loss, Everson said.

An investigator from the state fire marshal's office came to Baker City over the weekend and was scheduled to return today. The difficulty is that the parts of the home still standing, including portions of the roof and an upper floor, are so unstable that it might be too dangerous for investigators to enter, Everson said.

Knocking down the dangerous sections could eliminate the evidence pointing to the fire's source, he said.

"It's a very challenging situation," Everson said.