Fire Destroys Klamath Falls Home

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, April 25 2013 at 5:03 PM, Updated: Thu, April 25 2013 at 5:13 PM

An overheated surge protector is believed to have sparked a fire that left a Klamath Falls family homeless this morning.

Scott Rice of Klamath County Fire District #1 reports that the fire broke out just before 8:AM at a home on Barry Drive, and grew quickly...

"The rear section of the home was heavily involved with fire when we got here, the rest of the structure was filling up with smoke."

Home owner Olivia Hammond was comforted by neighbors as she watched helplessly...

Rice notes that Olivia, her husband and 12 year old son had left the home about about 7:30...

"Everything was normal.  They didn't smell any smoke, no electrical problems, so there's no indication that they knew that there was a problem here when they left this morning.

The fire also caught neighbor Mary Peterson off-guard...

"I don't know what happened."  Recalled Peterson.  "I just heard dogs barking, and looked out the window, and saw black smoke - and I's just sad."

The Hammond's dogs were found safe, and the home is insured - and neighbors are also doing what they can to help.

The fire caused about $200,000 worth of damage.

Investigator Scott Rice explained that when surge protectors and outlet strips fail, they tend to heat up from the bottom.  Most are designed for mounting on a wall, which is a safer option than placing the unit on a carpet.


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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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