Fire near Talking Water Gardens shocks Albany-area residents

People living near the fire were shocked to see smoke and ash filling the sky on Tuesday afternoon, and weren't sure what to do.

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 7:29 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 9:10 AM

ALBANY, Ore. -- Albany residents were sent into a panic late Tuesday morning when brush caught fire near the ATI manufacturing plant and the Talking Water Gardens in Millersburg.

People in the area describe hearing sirens and seeing ash from the fire falling right in front of their eyes.

When KEZI crews arrived on scene, the entire area smelled like a campfire.

One woman on Facebook said ashes were falling at a Costco about one mile from ATI Wah Chang, a large manufacturing facility in Millersburg.


Benjamin Doster lives near Talking Water Gardens, a recreational area connected to the local water treatment plant.

Doster said it was shocking to hear it happened in an area where a lot people go everyday.

He said his day started off normal -- until he looked up, and what he saw what put him in a panic.

”I was over by Hillhouse Apartments on the other side of town sitting on the back of my truck with my girlfriend smoking a cigarette and just looked up and was like, 'Where's all this ash coming from?'" Doster said. "It was just coming down all over the place, and I just looked up. And we were facing right there, and it was just huge black smoke.”

Doster also said a mom and her child got trapped on a trail behind Talking Water Gardens. He said they got out, but KEZI has not confirmed that information.

Andrea Free, a bartender at Front Street Bar and Grill, said she opened the window and saw a large, thick plume of smoke. She said this left her wondering what her next move should be.

Free said she was alerted to the fire when people ran into the bar asking what was going on.

She said a co-worker told her to shut their windows and turn their hood vents off.

Not knowing the severity of the fire, this left her questioning her safety.

”At first, I was like, should we even be open or do we evacuate," Free said. "Like, what kind of chemicals are they dealing with, cause I’m new here and I didn’t even know what that was, like what kind of company or anything, so I was kind of freaked out. But then I was like there is police everywhere so."

That bar is located about one-and-a-half miles from ATI.

Free said they were not asked to evacuate, but much of the area by Talking Water Gardens was.

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