558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Fire destroys home at Keystone Ranch
Due to being located outside of the Crook County Fire and Rescue district, no firefighting personnel responded
Flames engulf the house at Keystone Ranch on Friday evening.
March 04, 2013
Friday night, deputies from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office were met with heavy smoke and flames when they were dispatched to a fire at Keystone Ranch.
Deputy Jeremy Neely was one of the staff who responded to the residential fire, which was a two-story stick-built home that sat on the edge of a pasture at the Keystone Ranch, owned by Leonard and Vickie Langley. The house is about one mile off Highway 26E near milepost 31 — 14 miles east of Prineville.
The Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to find the home with billowing black smoke coming out of the walls and roof on the back of the home.
According to Undersheriff John Gautney, the only agency to respond to the fire was the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, as the fire was outside of Crook County Fire and Rescue fire district. He added that Central Electric Coop came out to shut off the power.
The homeowners were out of town at the time of the fire, and Deputies were advised from Crook County Fire and Rescue that the home was out of the Crook County Fire District, and there would not be any response from fire personnel.
“We check to see if there is anyone in the house or if there is a life safety problem,” commented CCFR Fire Chief Matt Smith on Monday. “If not, it hasn’t been our practice to respond. The difficulty is, how far is too far to respond outside the fire district, because in Crook County, there is a lot of unprotected land. It is an extraordinarily difficult decision to make, and we feel really horrible for the loss of the structure.”
Smith said that when they get outside the fire district, they are no longer under their mutual aid agreement to get help. If there is a call inside the fire district for a structure fire at the same time, it also creates issues. He said that the CCFR gets approximately one fire each year outside the CCFR fire district.
“They (sheriff’s deputies) showed up there, and the housekeeper was there and she could smell smoke,” added Gautney. “She realized the walls were hot in the area of the back of the house where the grill was at.”
Neely said the grill was in an alcove made specifically for the grill to sit inside. When he arrived, there was fire in the grill area and up through a vent and through the roof.
“The fire was localized in the grill,” commented Neely. “There was a lot of smoke coming out from the top of the house. The only flames that were visible were around the grill itself and up through the vent. Shortly after that, there were neighbors on the scene, and they were attempting to get hoses and that sort of thing to stop the fire.”
He said that shortly afterwards, the fire appeared to spread through the attic area.
“We were then unable to go into the house.”
It is believed that the barbecue may have been going for nearly 24 hours prior to the arrival of the Sheriff’s deputies. Although friends and neighbors arrived at the scene of the fire in an attempt to help extinguish the fire, the fire fully engulfed the home after about 30 minutes.
There was not an approximate amount for the damage to the home as of Monday at press time.