Apartment fire displaces three families

By Chris Collins January 22, 2014 09:57 am

No people hurt, but one dog died in Tuesday afternoon blaze 


By Chris Collins

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An electrical short in a power cord is blamed for a fire that displaced three households at the Blue Ridge Apartments Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters were dispatched to the seven-unit apartment complex on Highway 30 on the north outskirts of Baker City at 1:34 p.m. Most of the damage was confined to Apartment E, where the fire started, said Don Taggart of the Baker City Fire Department.

Jenny Wilson, who lives in the apartment with her 6-year-old daughter, Traeh Thronson, and her 4-year-old daughter, Maya Wilson, was not home when the fire started.

The family lost their male pug,Teddy, in the fire. A second dog, Lilo, a female pug mix, was taken to the Baker Veterinary Hospital for treatment and was doing well this morning, Wilson said.

Taggart said firefighters entered the building after being told by several residents that Wilson and her daughters might still be inside. Instead they found only the two dogs.

Wilson said she and her 6-year-old were at a doctor’s appointment when the fire started shortly after noon.

“That was a blessing,” she said. “If we hadn’t woke up for the doctor’s appointment, who knows what would have happened.”

The sheriff’s department evacuated all of the apartments during the firefighting effort.

The Red Cross responded to the fire and provided motel rooms for Wilson and her children and for Mary Jo Bennett and Heather Cromwell and her daughter, who live in apartments adjoining Wilson’s home. Other residents of the complex  were able to return to their homes later Tuesday.

Wilson, who has worked as a hair stylist at the Styles R Us salon for the past three months, said she and her daughters lost most of their belongings in the fire.

In addition to short-term housing, the Red Cross also is providing money for food and clothing.

“I’m  still in shock,” Wilson said of her future plans. “I have family and friends willing to help. Right now I’m taking  it day by day.”

Eleven Baker City firefighters provided mutual aid to the Baker Rural Fire Protection District, Taggart said. The city crew spent about an hour on the scene and knocked the fire down quickly.

Nine Baker Rural volunteers remained at the scene until about 8 p.m., said Fire Chief Howard Payton.

The state fire marshal investigated the fire and determined that it was started by a short in an electrical cord caused by a pinch in the cord when it was placed under the leg of a dresser, Payton said.