Todd McKinley

Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley

Quick action by neighbors and golfers saved a local home.

On April 12, a fire broke out on the deck of a home near the John Day Golf Course.

According to a press release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, a heat lamp on three young chickens caught some of the bedding on fire, which led to the deck catching on fire.

Todd McKinley, the county’s sheriff, said a quick-thinking neighbor called for help to a couple of nearby golfers. He said the golfers used water from a nearby hot tub, found a garden hose and sprayed down the deck before the flames engulfed the house.

Dennis Marshal, one of the golfers, said he, his wife and another couple were playing golf on the green when the neighbor started yelling for help and waved her arms at them.

Marshall told the Eagle they immediately dropped everything and jumped in the golf cart to help.

“There was a point where I thought the whole house was going to be gone,” he said. “Flames were coming between the deck boards and right up along the siding and going up to the overhang of the roof.”

He said “miraculously” they were able to douse the flames and knock the fire down before the fire department showed up.

“Then it looked kind of silly because it didn’t look like there was that much damage,” he said.

Marshall said the neighbor, whom the Eagle could not identify, was the real “hero.”

Marshall, who is from Powell Butte and recently purchased a property in Dayville, said it turned out that they knew the owner of the house, Sylvia Ross.

He said Ross’s great aunt is like a parent to him.

Ross said in a Monday email that the damage could have been so much worse.

“Their actions were instrumental in preventing a significant loss of property and damage,” McKinley said. “As sheriff, this is what I like to see. Neighbors helping neighbors, and looking out for each other. There needs to be more of this.”

McKinley said the chickens survived.



Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.