EUGENE, Ore. — Owners of two homes in Eugene are still picking up the pieces after flames from one house spread to the other.
Neighbors say fire trucks swarmed the streets at around 11 p.m. Friday Russet Drive. A neighbor who called 9-1-1 said she and her kids all saw the fire.
The Eugene Fire Department says the fire left one home extensively damaged and the other uninhabitable.
“A fire ball, big inferno just erupted,” said neighbor Amy Potter.
What Potter thought were fireworks ended up being her neighbor’s house engulfed in flames. A fire so big it also damaged the house next door.
“As soon as I saw that it wasn’t fireworks, which was only a few seconds of that, I called,” Potter said.
Not long after Potter’s phone call to 9-1-1, fire trucks arrived on the scene to fight the fire.
“I feel so sorry for them because they can’t even live in their house now. They have to live some place else until it can be repaired,” said neighbor Judy Rush.
Deputy Fire Marshall Sandra Johnston says the cause of the fire is likely due to a candle that was used by one of the home owners.
Potter says she always maintains her yard, trimming bushes, mowing and watering lawns to reduce the risk of something like this.
“I was concerned because it’s such a forested area with so many trees, and there were embers flying. I had actually some burnt paper in the front seat of my van. I had both windows down,” Potter said.
And it wasn’t just Potter who was concerned. She says other neighbors were outside watering their yards and houses in case the embers flew into their yards. Chad Minter, Chief of the Lane County Fire Defense Board, says simple things can help residents prepare for fires.
“Keep the area free of clutter, keep the gutters clean, and keep a garden hose hooked up on standby,” Minter said.
“These are my neighbors, and I really, really feel badly for them. I just wish there was something that could be done,” Rush said.
Johnston says that keep a clean yard is important. Cut down low hanging tree branches, trim bushes and get rid of dead shrubs, and have smoke alarms. She also says having lots of clutter can fuel a fire, so try to keep a clean place.