Fast-growing Substation Fire turns deadly

UPDATE: Authorities have identified the man who died in the fire.

Posted: Jul. 18, 2018 5:25 PM
Updated: Jul. 19, 2018 4:58 PM

UPDATE: Officials have identified the man who died in the Substation Fire as local John Ruby, 64.

They believe he died trying to create a fire line.

One family's home was saved from the Substation Fire. 

The Urness Family thought they were going to lose their home of 27 years when the fire got inside the structure, but a heroic effort saved it.

A neighbor also dropped off hay so the Urnesses could feed their horses after the feed they had stored burned in the fire.

After what they've been through, they said they worry about those being evacuated now. 

"I've been out to help on fires, but it's never, I mean it's never ... I feel that it's affected as many people as this one has," Mackenzie Urness said. 

The Urnesses hope that insurance will cover at least some of what they lost.

The fire is threatening more than 900 homes and has burned more than 50,000 acres. The Oregon National Guard was activated Thursday to help fight the fire from the air.

As of Thursday there were 178 firefighters from 32 agencies on scene. They also have at least seven aircrafts.

KEZI 9 News obtained new video of the blaze from firefighters on the frontlines. 

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THE DALLES, Ore. -- One person has died in the fast-growing Substation Fire near The Dalles.

Authorities say the person was found on Wednesday afternoon near a burnt tractor and it appears they were trying to create a fire line.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the emergency conflagration act to provide more resources to help fight the wildfire, which has burned 36,000 acres and destroyed at least one home.

The fire has forced mandatory evacuations, and a Red Cross shelter has been set up for people who need a place to stay.

“It’s sad,” The Dalles resident Marcia LaDuke said. “Some of the homes have been here ... almost 100 years, and it’ll go up like a tinder.”

So far there is no estimate on the fire’s containment, but firefighters said fire movement slowed Wednesday. They warn that winds could pick up again and slow their progress.

A task force from Lane County said they are ready to go if needed.

The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon near Highway 197. Tuesday night the fire spread 18 miles in just eight hours.

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