Two house fires in Selma believed to be intentional, says OSP

SELMA, Ore.– Two neighboring houses in Selma were damaged early Friday morning in what police believe to be two separate fires started intentionally.

Investigators are still remaining tight-lipped about the incident as they look into a cause. However, firefighters say it’s suspicious as the first home did not cause the second to catch fire.

“Of course that’s suspicious. That’s why OSP is out here investigating,” said Ned Booth, public information officer for the Illinois Valley Fire District. “I mean, just to have two houses at the same time, 100 yards apart or so go up in the pouring rain?”

According to Booth, firefighters were called out to the 700 block of Lakeshore Drive around 1 a.m. Friday morning for a house that was on fire. As crews arrived to deal with it, another fire was discovered in the neighboring house that was unoccupied.

The original home did have someone inside which is where Ted Robison ran in to help.

“I heard somebody banging on the window, I mean hard, and somebody was beeping their horn,” said Robison. “So I came out and Duane wasn’t answering so I just kicked the door in.”

Robison says his friend did get out alive and both were sent to the hospital and subsequently released later that day. NBC5 News spoke with the homeowner named Duane who declined to be on camera. He did say he broke his wrist and had a few burns but it’s his home that took the most damage. However, he says he does have insurance.

However, Robison was not living in either of the two homes. He says he was living in a wall tent that burned earlier that night just up the hill. IVFD has since learned of that fire but says their crews never got a call to respond.

Fire investigators did interview Robison later about the fire with the wall tent. However, OSP could not confirm at this time if it’s being included in the investigation with the two homes.

According to the Josephine County Tax Assessor’s office, all three structures that burned were on separate properties. Fire investigators were still attempting to reach all of the property owners as of Friday morning.

But whether they’re all connected or not will be left up to the investigation.

“It’s a lot of times when the damage is this severe it’s hard to determine,” said Robison. “But they’re working on it very hard so we’ll see.”

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