The fire happened on the 1900 block of Dogwood Drive, at about 11:00 Monday night. Police say a man in his 70s was pronounced dead at the scene, and his mother, in her 90s, was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.
Investigators do not believe foul play was involved, calling the fire an accident, but they still don’t know the cause.
What is unusual about this fire is that emergency dispatchers were originally called to the scene because of reports of loud noises that sounded like gun shots. They suspect that the noises were actually aerosol cans, exploding in the fire.
“On this one, it totally caught everybody off guard, just like ‘no this is an actual fire,’” says Captain Mike Arnold, a paramedic with Eugene/Springfield Fire. “We were kind of behind the eight ball, we weren’t bunkered-out, we just had part of our gear on so that was a bit of a delay too. Very unusual.”
Firefighters say the fire started in the back of the house and a propane grill accelerated the flame. Neighbors say the flames were so high, they almost reached the tall trees in the home’s yard.