Orlin Shults was 55 years old and the youngest brother of 12 kids according to his sister Pati. She told NBC5 News Shults used candles to heat his trailer since it didn’t have any other heating source.
Fire investigators say the cause is still left to be determined but candles are being considered.
In the meantime, Pati says the family loves him and will miss him dearly this Thanksgiving.
A deadly trailer fire was one of two fires that kept Grants Pass firefighters busy and stretched resources well into the morning Tuesday.
The two fires, one in Sunny Valley and the other off of Hidden Valley Road south of Grants Pass, started within the same hour at opposite areas of Josephine County.
Rural Metro Fire responded to the first fire off of the 500 block of Sunny Valley Loop near Interstate 5 around 2 a.m. When crews arrived, a trailer was engulfed in flames and was ultimately destroyed. According to the crews, one person died as he was unable to escape in time.
While his family has been notified his name has not yet been released and Rural Metro only identified him as an adult male.
“Whether they had an actual address to their name or they were kind of transient – moving from place to place and this was just a place they happened to be for a while – all those kind of details haven’t been fully determined yet,” said Rural Metro Division Chief Austin Prince.
As Rural Metro crews were occupied battling the first fire, a second one broke out close to 3 a.m. at an area near Triller Lane and Hidden Valley Road.
Prince said it was initially reported as a grass fire but due to heavy amounts of debris in the lot, the fire quickly spread and soon overtook a motorhome. The residents of that lot managed to escape and no one was injured but the motorhome was destroyed.
Since Rural Metro crews were still busy dealing with the first fire their resources were stretched leading other fire districts from the county rushing to assist.
“What would be considered somewhat routine but the incident types actually created a lot of commitment for resources to be on location that they first went to for quite a while,” said Prince. “You can’t just up and pick up while there is still an incident going on.”
Prince said this is the third major fire to happen in a 24-hour shift. The first happened early Monday when a shed housing over a dozen cats was destroyed when a portable heater ignited.
While the two fires on Tuesday are still under investigation, firefighters are reminding everyone to be safe as they begin to use their wood stoves, chimneys, and heaters again this winter.
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