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Residents React to Evacuations

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Some home and business owners near the Springfield mill fire were placed under a mandatory evacuation for about two hours as fire crews battled the fire.

Most got a call on their phones telling them to evacuate. Others had police officers come to their doors. And all would agree it was a scary situation.

Not too long after the mill fire started, residents living on 26th and M Street were told evacuate.

“I got three messages in my answering machine. My boyfriend said that police came and knocked on the door and said there is an evacuation,” said Springfield resident Boverlita Reynolds.

Reynolds says she wasn’t home, but her boyfriend evacuated at the same time fearing for her home because debris had spread from the fire, starting a grass fire in her backyard.

“Oh, my gosh. It scared me. Everything is here. It is, my life is here, so if it was gone, where are we going to go?” Reynolds said.

The fire destroyed some of her fruit trees. Luckily, firefighters saved her home.

Brett Proulx was also in the evacuation zone.

“I knew my house was right on the other side of the hill, and yeah it was really scary,” Proulx.

And Chuck Harral, owner of Springfield Auto Recyclers has been just blocks from the mill for 40 years. He too got the evacuation call.

“I had never gotten one before, and it was on my cell phone,” Harral said.

In the initial stages, Harral actually helped firefighters get water and offered them bathroom facilities, all while wondering if his business would be the next to go up in flames.

“It was very concerning because the wind was blowing, and part of the time the wind was blowing our way, and then all of a sudden they had another fire on the side of Millrace,” Harral said.

Just before 7 p.m., residents got a call when the evacuation order was lifted, leaving all in the area breathing a sigh of relief.

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