Wednesday, May 9, 2012/lk
“The haunted house” burned on Sunday.
A long-abandoned structure on Hazel Street near downtown was mostly destroyed in the fire, which is under investigation.
Willem Dickinson, 12, was among the first to see the fire flickering inside the house.
Neighbors refer to it as “the haunted house.” The large and dilapidated hillside structure has been vacant for 20 years.
Looking out his bedroom window overlooking Hazel Street at about 10:15 p.m., Willem saw the fire flickering in a window, and called out to his parents, who called 9-1-1.
“The firefighters were there in just a few minutes,” said Willem’s dad, Chip, “but it went up really quickly.”
Since the house was engulfed by flames when they arrived, and surrounded by high brush and debris, fire crews surrounded the blaze and poured thousands of gallons of water on it but did not send personnel into the building.
“We’re just lucky this didn’t happen in August,” said engineer Clancy Cox. “The trees would have been torched and the house (50 yards east) would have been in danger.”
Crews operated a defensive attack utilizing exterior handlines to suppress the fire. The abandoned three-story house is in the 700 block of Hazel Street and has been vacant for nearly 20 years, according to Fire Chief Devon Wells, who said the cause of the fire is under investigation and deemed suspicious in nature.
The fire was extinguished around midnight, with fire crews remaining on scene throughout the night to monitor the building.
Willem’s mother, Robin Dickinson, said the flames rose to 20 feet almost immediately.
“When I called 9-1-1 I said, ‘bring backup,’ because it was huge,” she said.
Fire crews from Hood River and Cascade Locks fire departments, along with West Side and Wy’East Fire Districts responded to the incident.
If anyone has information pertaining to the fire, please contact Devon Wells at Hood River Fire & EMS, at 541-386-9458.