Firefighters called out to Merlin home explosion, neighbors speak out

MERLIN, Ore. — (Updated: Monday, Dec. 2nd 10:30 a.m.) Multiple explosions rocked a Josephine County neighborhood early Sunday morning.

A house on the 1100 block on Pleasant Valley Road in Merlin went up in flames around 5:30 a.m.  When fire crews arrived, the home was completely in flames and vehicles on the property were also caught on fire.

“I assumed that it was a tree falling, cause that’s actually how it sounded like the whole earth shook,” said Mychal-Ana Abbott, neighbor.

Abbott said the flames shot as high 15 to 20 feet in the air. She said a total of five explosions went off within half an hour.  She said it was so loud it was heard from two miles away.

“It was loud enough that our friends over by North Valley called my mother to make sure we were safe.”

Rural Metro Fire and Grants Pass Fire arrived and started to put out the flames and search the property.  As firefighters worked to put it out, it was found the property was protected by an alternative fire department outside of Merlin. Rural Metro Fire and Grants Pass Fire conducted a transitional plan and left the remaining scene to the other department.

“We didn’t have a rescue of any people, we didn’t have a possibility of it spreading to the neighbor’s house and all the hazards that we could tell like all the explosions seemed to be done and the power had been disconnected by the power company,” said Division Chief Austin Prince with Rural Metro Fire.

As investigators work to piece together what caused the explosions, neighbors say they’re happy no one got hurt.

“Whatever business those people do and however our feelings are, my concerns were is anybody in there,” said Mia Abbott. “My other part of me was worried, I didn’t want anybody to die.”

Rural Metro Fire said all occupants fled the scene after the fire and had no reports of any injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.  A detective with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety told NBC5 News it’s an active criminal investigation.

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