Fire Destroys Cottage Grove Home

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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — A family of 11 has been left homeless after a fire ripped through their Cottage Grove house.

Mother of nine, Amanda Wilder, says she was getting her 5-year-old ready for the day when her 4-year-old came in the nursery and said there was a fire in the next room.

Wilder says she rushed to put it out, but before she could do anything, the fire grew out of control.

“I said wait here, I went back in my bedroom and it was this an orange blaze. And I grabbed the blanket, started putting it out,” Wilder said.

But she says it was too late.

“I grabbed pillows, and I know I ran and got a bucket of water to throw on the fire. I ran and got my fire extinguisher pulled the key off of it, there was no charge. And that’s when I just gave up and said let’s go,” Wilder said.

Once fire crews arrived, South Lane County Fire and Rescue Chief Joe Raade says the house was destroyed.

“There wasn’t a lot of visible flame, a lot of smoke. A lot of fire to the back of the house when we arrived,” Raade said.

Raade says the cause is still under investigation, but they believe it may have been started by kids playing with matches.

“They brought me a couple scrap books that are burnt,” Wilder said.

While her family is safe, Wilder says it’s the loss of family mementos that can’t be replaced that’s hurting her right now.

“A lot of the newer photos. My 4-year-old, 3-year-old, their scrap books were in my bedroom where I do all my crafting and scrapbooking. It’s all gone,” Wilder said.

But her neighbors are behind her 100 percent.

“I just went to Goodwill, got her some shoes because she don’t have nothing on her feet,” said neighbor Betty Krell.

Krell lives across the street from the Wilders. She’s one of a number of people who are helping the family.

“For a thousand a month, you don’t, you don’t find a house that’s a four-bedroom house for nine kids,” Wilder said.

The Wilders plan on staying with Amanda’s parents in Oakridge until they can find another place to live.

South Lane County Fire and Rescue says damage estimates are around $200,000 and the family did not have renters insurance. The Red Cross and other local agencies are also reaching out to the family.

Donations of items for the family are being collected at the Cottage Grove Station of South Lane County Fire and Rescue, located at 233 East Harrison in Cottage Grove.


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  1. Steven Armstead says:

    A lot of Cottage Grove locals will tell you,this woman has a history of “suspicious” arson fires, and insurance claims. Not saying this wasn’t just a stroke of bad luck. But with it being labeled suspicious. Makes you wonder. I guess thats one way to feed 11 kids…

    1. AMANDA says:

      well you are clearly misinformed. I have not made one insurance claim in my life, also you lack to read the part where I had “no renters insurance”, and I do not have 11 kids I have 9 and if I WANTED 11 I WOULD, AND being the fathers make good income and we partner together to raise them, it is none of your business how we feed our kids. However if your inquiring mind wants to know the truth not printed, here it is,… two weeks prior I had plugged my vacuum in preparing the floors to be steamed cleaned, the wiring job from 1910 blew out in all outlets in my room,immediately called and informed the property management of what happened and that I WOULD BE HANGING A LANTERN OF CANDLES for light until they came to fix the electric.. and then contacted their contractor and HE said that he will not come out until the management writes up the work order.(2 weeks pass) during the time I was preparing my afternoon kindergartner the year younger brother” my 4 YEAR OLD” had swiped a toy from his 3 year-old brother which caused a chase through the house to my bedroom they jumped up on my bed and upon the jump off my bed the 4 year-old’s head hit the lantern of candles one fell on to my bed and quickly consumed my bed and room. 15 years off memories and 9 SEPARATE scrapbooks including hospital bracelets and birth certificates,$2000 dollars worth or more of scrapbooking supplies new furniture the first crib we ever bought $300 no insurance covered our losses. YOU do not read well AND you should check your sources better before you make a stupid ass comment that makes you an idiot. If the homeowners insurance Co. knew the yearly inspections (4 of them) had lacked to check the fire extinguisher and or make the property management install fire alarms, their insurance that paid them would not have issued the owners the check for $200,000 to make renovations for negligence. Politics are the reason why they blamed my kids, there were no matches, but if the management accepted that- they- were negligent and should have repaired the electric then I would not have needed those candles that burnt our rented home. SINCERELY MOTHER AND FATHER OF NINE.

    2. Cheryl Bowden says:

      I just did read the comment that was made by Steve Armstead, regarding the fire at my daughter’s home in late November, 2013. What a shock it was to read such untrue statements! I would certainly like to know where the rumor got started regarding my daughter supposedly collecting insurance claims to feed her children. Just give me one source, please! I can promise the “locals” in Cottage Grove, Oregon or ANY other town, that my daughter has never filed any kind of grievance against a rental agency or any other type of agency. Nor does she have any intentions to do so at this time. Nor did she commit arson in order to collect insurance. Yes, she has a large family (per her choice) but she DOES NOT live off of state assistance and has not had an assistance check in over 12 years.
      It saddens me that people can be so quick to judge without even knowing her. Her family is a “closely knit” family. They have the same amount of pride and love for one another that any other family would have. Please don’t judge unless you have proof of what you are professing to be true.
      Amanda has a good rental history. Her home is clean, she loves yard work, grows a lot of her own food, spends hours helping her children with their studies and the whole family enjoyed making scrap books together and what an awesome job they all did! Amanda lives in her homes for years at a time as she doesn’t like having to uproot her children. She lived in her first home for 9 years and had lived in the one that burnt down for nearly 5 years. And, to answer another question that everyone has…..she’s not on H.U.D. housing. Her oldest daughter continuously holds a 4.0 GPA. So….. you see, there ARE good things to report.
      My wish is that Steven Armstead either show proof of his claims against my daughter, or apologize to her. And then I will pray that he and others will try to practice more positive thoughts in the future.
      One last thing……I want to say THANK YOU from Amanda and ALL of her families for the emotional support and donations that the Cottage Grove and Oakridge areas provided in Amanda’s time of need. It touches our hearts to know that so many people went out of their way to help make trying times easier to endure. God bless you all. Cheryl Bowden

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