While duplex residents in Mt. Vernon got out of their homes safely, they lost everything in a fire that broke out late Sunday evening.
Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley said the blaze ignited a wildland fire on Harper Creek, but crews were able to put it out before it spread. He said putting out the wildland fire was the priority, as the duplex — which belonged to Toby Parsons — was engulfed in flames when they arrived.
He said crews had to truck water in to put out the blaze.
McKinley said Mt. Vernon Fire Department had two engines and three tenders while John Day Fire Department provided mutual aid with engines and tenders. He said both fire departments and the Grant County Sheriffs Office were on the scene until 3:30 a.m.
According to McKinley, Parsons’ family has a family in the area they are staying with, while the other family was in the hotel last night. He said the Red Cross was called to lend help last night.
While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, McKinley said the likely cause was a propane barbecue cooker.
McKinley said it is essential to be careful when using barbecues.
“Be careful and watch your cooking sources,” he said. “Anytime you’re cooking or using fire.”
In a separate incident Monday morning, McKinley said a grass fire on Widows Creek that was started by a fence builder’s welding was put out rapidly.