WHITE CITY, Ore. – A local fire district is looking at its procedures after it cleared a scene and left a family to discover their dead relatives’ remains. NBC5 News first broke the story about how Fire District 3 gave a family the ‘all-clear’ after their relative’s RV burned down in late September.
Firefighters didn’t see the burnt body in the rubble leaving the family to find their relative the next day. In late September, Gary Rudduck and his dog died in an RV fire in White City. Firefighters were told by bystanders that no one was in the RV at the time. The next dayRudduck’s brother-in-law discovered his remains. Now Fire District 3 officials are taking a closer look at how they go about investigating fires.
A White City man is dead after a fire broke out in his RV. But firefighters didn’t find him, his family did a day later as they went through the rubble.
“When I realized it was him I was frantically pulling everything off of him, I begged that it was not real, but it was real,” said ??, last month.
Now Fire District 3 Chief Bob Horton said the agency has completed a full internal report so something like this doesn’t happen again.
“Our firefighters were really hard on themselves about that, that is not prideful work for them,” said Chief Horton.
He said he shares the same concerns the family has.
“We have to strive to be better not to be primed by information that may lead us astray,” said Chief Horton.
On September 30, Fire District Three said firefighters were told by bystanders no one was in the RV as it burned. Chief Horton said firefighters believed them and treated the situation as such.
“We risk a lot for savable lives, we risk a little for saveable property, and we risk nothing for things that are not saveable,” said Chief Horton.
After reviewing all relevant information to the case, Chief Horton said their strategy in extinguishing the fire wouldn’t have been any different had it known someone was inside.
However, he said what would have changed is what happened afterward. Firefighters on-scene would have thoroughly gone through the burnt RV, something Chief Horton said wasn’t done due to how unsafe the RV was for firefighters to go into.
“We absolutely share the concern of the family, the circumstances, we do think, you know, this is a tragic event,” said Chief Horton.
Chief Horton told NBC5 News when firefighters arrived on-scene the RV was fully engulfed in flames. There was no safe way for firefighters to save anyone until the fire was out. He said the cause of the fire is undetermined.