Nerves are rattled following the fire near Biddle Rd

MEDFORD, Ore. — One day after a frightening fire threatened homes and businesses near Medford’s airport, the investigation into the cause is well underway.

The fire is completely contained, but it provided some frightening moments for people in the area.

“I stayed here and kept the site secure and was able to monitor the fire and update the guests and staff down at the cooling shelter,” said Operations Manager for Rogue Retreat, Justin Hon, says Sunday’s fire near the Bear Creek Greenway brought back some terrible memories from last fall.

“I saw this big plume of smoke and I was extremely devastated, you know because it triggered the Almeda with me and I thought – we’re going to lose everything.”

Hon says Rogue Retreat recently secured a lease on the land behind the old Crater Meat Packing building to establish another urban campground.

“This is where the campground 2.0 is going to go right here, primarily everything that burned yesterday. I’m glad we didn’t start the process sooner because if we had, we wouldn’t have a campground 2.0,” he said.

RELATED: 3-alarm grass fire in Medford closes Biddle Rd, causes level 1 evacuations

Hon says the silver lining is that the fire burned out old debris piles that were in the way.. meaning building the new campground should now be a bit easier.

But not everyone was so lucky.

Kelly’s Automotive, General Manager, Greg Unger, rushed to his business.

He began spraying water across the bark and front of his shop.

“4 o’clock is like a magic hour, the humidity is at its lowest the wind was blowing to east and we were watching that flag across the street very closely to see the wind direction because it got into those trailers and that RV place we were going to be in trouble,” said Unger.

Medford Fire Chief Eric Thompson said some trailers were damaged by the fire. The business, Camping World, declined to elaborate.

After the frightening experience, Unger is considering making some changes.

The Almeda Fire made an impact last year, but this one was a little too close to home.

“[I’m] thinking of little decisions, currently, backups on the servers are done here – well, it’s time to start thinking of doing that outside of the building because if you can’t get down here and you can’t get your information, you better hope you have it backed up off-site,” Unger said.

The Medford Fire Department says at this time it can’t comment on the ongoing investigation.


NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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