Milton-Freewater home destroyed by fire

Nobody was home at the time, but a family pet is reported missing after the blaze.

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MILTON-FREEWATER -- A double-wide manufactured home belonging to the Milton-Freewater Unified School District is a complete loss from a fire Wednesday.

The Milton-Freewater Rural Fire Department responded to a call at 2:27 p.m. with 14 firefighters and five units and found the home fully engulfed, Lt. Rob Snell said today. "Fire was coming out of all sides and out the roof."

After clearing the blaze, firefighters turned their attention to saving outbuildings and a vehicle in the vicinity, Snell said.

School district officials confirmed that a 1978 mobile home situated at the McLoughlin High School FFA land lab, 83923 Grant Road, was destroyed, displacing a family with school-age children.

The home on the east side of town was a rental property and housed caretakers who helped watch over the FFA animals at the site, noted Roger Weiler with the school district. "No one was there at the time."

Weiler, the district's business manager, was waiting for estimated costs of the damage this morning, noting insurance company investigators were on the scene Wednesday.

The family reported one of their pets missing after the fire, he said today.

No other buildings were involved and no FFA animals were injured, said Jim Reger, school district superintendent.

Aaron Duff, Mac-Hi's FFA advisor, was in the process Wednesday evening of relocating the school's animals to a "better environment," Reger added.

Officials said the fire's cause is unknown.

"I've heard conflicting information," Snell said, adding the Oregon state Fire Marshal's office may not choose to investigate this particular situation. "In this weather, they're all over the place."

Heating sources are one of the primary causes of house fires in the winter, he said. "Make sure you're careful. Clean out the fireplaces and chimneys."

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

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