MEDFORD, Ore.– Calls of a structure fire Saturday evening saw several fire engines rush out to Eagle Point where a home belonging to a family of five was later destroyed in the flames.
While no one was hurt, the family returned to their home on Leafwood Drive Sunday to see if anything could be salvaged. According to Drew Waits, the father, it wasn’t promising.
“For the most part it’s a total loss,” he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Drew and his wife Mandy say they and their three boys left to go have dinner in Medford that evening. It wasn’t until they received a phone call, that they found out their home was up in flames.
According to Jackson County Fire District 3, the home is located in a rural part of the area. Crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to other homes but the defensible space that was built around it was the main factor in keeping the fire where it was.
Battalion Chief Jeff Bancroft says it’s another good example of what maintenance around your home can do. Unfortunately, it was prepared for a wildfire but not for one that may have originated in the home.
“Pretty good. It did not stretch to the neighboring hills and brush and trees,” he said. “And if it had done that we could have been chasing that and it could have involved another house.”
For the Waits family, the Rogue Valley has always been their home. In December, they bought a house and renovated it into their dream home – making for an extremely painful loss now.
“This is about what we wanted,” said Waits. “Yeah… yeah, it’s a tough one.”
The family says the interior of the house is beyond repair and it will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. On the plus side, insurance will be able to help somewhat. Already, it’s helping to cover their stay in a motel as they assess the damages.
But Drew says what’s better than that is the outpouring of community support they’ve received when they needed it most.
“We would just want to thank Medford. All of Medford, all of our friends, all of our family,” said Waits. “Our bosses have either texted or shown up and it’s been amazing – the support.”
The loss is unimaginable. But the Waits say they’re taking it day by day and carry the hope that there will be a light at the end of it all.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.