Dog alerts property owner to barn fire started by heat lamp

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — A barn remains intact after the family dog alerted it’s owner to a fire Wednesday night.

Fire officials with Rural Metro Fire said the fire was started by a heat lamp inside a barn located in the 2800 block of Jerome Prairie Road.

The owner initially started to fight the fire with a garden hose until fire crews arrived from Grants Pass Fire’s Redwood Station.

According to Rural Metro, the fire was fortunately contained to one stall inside the barn. It was caused by a heat lamp used to keep baby chickens warm. Firefighters said the fire started when the lamp came into contact with flammable material, most likely straw bedding.

There were no reported injuries, however eight of the ten baby chickens died in the fire.

Tips from Rural Metro Fire:
1. Locate heated coops or pens away from the main house or barn. In the event of a fire, there is no reason to lose everything.
2. Consider alternate heating devices like Brooder Heaters or Prima Heat Lamps.
3. Be sure lamps are far enough away from flammable material. Even radiant heat over time will cause wood, straw, hay, sawdust, etc. to eventually ignite. Aim the lamp to heat the air, not heat adjacent combustible surfaces.
4. Be sure the heating device is securely fastened to a solid surface. Prevent it from being knocked around by the livestock. Spring-tension clamps often don’t hold-up to livestock ruckus or an uninvited predator.
5. Use heat lamps that have a bail/cage over the bulb to prevent debris and livestock fur/feathers/hair from contacting the hot bulb.
6. Protect electrical supply by plugging into a GFCI-equipped outlets and keep away from moisture.
7. Turn off all heaters and electrical supply when not needed. Don’t let it run 24/7.
8. Install a smoke alarm in the coop or pen. It is a fact that early notification of a fire can keep a fire small. A smoke alarm going off outside in a livestock area might even alert the neighbor of a fire when you aren’t home.
9. Be sure to have a garden hose with nozzle capable of reaching the coop pre-connected to a reliable water source. And be sure to guard against freezing when applicable. Many fires that are detected early can be kept small by someone who doesn’t have to take critical time to search for a hose, find a nozzle, and make the connections.

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