Prairie City rural volunteer firefighters responded to a home fully engulfed in flames Thursday afternoon on Pine Creek Road between Prairie City and John Day.
“Jim and Mary Jensen lost their home,” said Prairie City Fire Chief Marvin Rynearson, but no one was injured in the blaze.
After investigating the fire with State Fire Marshal Dave Field on Friday, Prairie City Fire Chief Marvin Rynearson said the cause was a flue fire.
“It started by the heating device, a wood stove with a double-walled metal flue,” he said.
It was undetermined if any pets perished in the fire, but Rynearson said a dog and two cats were missing and were presumed to have been in the house.
John Day dispatch received the call at 12:17 p.m., and as soon as Prairie City firefighters arrived on scene at 12:30 p.m., and John Day Rural Fire Department was called in for mutual aid arrived soon after.
Rynearson had been out of town when the call first came in, and Prairie City firefighter Chris Camarena was first on scene.
John Day Fire Chief Ron Smith said he was right behind Camarena.
“It’s a two-story house,” Smith said. “The roof was pretty much gone, and it was fully involved. Some of the walls were gone, and some were still standing.”
Rynearson said the home is a total loss, but outbuildings weren’t affected.
At the height of the fire, there were nine John Day firefighters on scene and at least 10 Prairie City firefighters, including the chiefs.
Prairie City responded with a water tender, a Type 1 engine and a support vehicle, and John Day had two tenders and a rural engine, as well as the chief’s rig.
Grant County Undersheriff Zach Mobley was also on site.
Rynearson said his biggest concern was having enough personnel available if another call came in.
Firefighters remained on scene until 11 p.m. Thursday evening, and returned at 3 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Friday for mop up, he said.
Rynearson said people should clean their flues at least three times each year, at the beginning, middle and end of the heating season.
“We’re in the middle of the heating season,” Rynearson said. “We should give flues and other heating devices a thorough check and make sure they’re in tip-top shape.”
The Jensens, whose property is at the “Y” going up Baldy Mountain, own Oxbow Trade Co. in Canyon City, which is a warehouse and museum with dozens of horse-drawn vehicles.