Heat lamp causes fire at Jacksonville cannabis drying facility, injures one

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – A heat lamp used to warm a chicken coop is responsible for starting a fire inside a cannabis drying facility on Hueners Lane on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Medford Rural Fire District, the initial call came in around 4:30 p.m. It was followed by multiple calls reporting a structure had caught fire.

One local resident, Marleigh Poteet says she and her friends saw it all.

“We saw, like, darker colored smoke and then when we went on this pathway we saw, like, all the flames,” Poteet explained.

MFD Fire Chief Eric Thompson said when firefighters arrived, there was a heavy column of smoke. He also said the attic space of the building was engulfed in flames and parts of the roof were already coming down.

Fire officials say the fire moved up an unprotected wall from a heat lamp used for chicks. The attic then caught on fire.

An employee called the property owner as soon as they noticed the fire, and the owner immediately came down to the facility.
MFD says the owner tried to put the fire out with garden hoses before calling 911. They say this delay may have allowed the fire to continue to spread until firefighters were on site.

“You know just with the risk, we couldn’t put anybody in there initially, so we started with the defensive operation,” Thompson said.

Medford Fire, Medford Rural Fire District, Jacksonville Fire, Fire District 3, and Applegate Valley Fire District all responded. They were able to contain the fire to just one structure with no damage to the surrounding properties.

Chief Thompson says the building may have had a lot of flammable material inside.  “It was not a residential structure, so it’s a commercial structure that was used for cannabis drying operations.”

Thompson also noted there were no fatalities, but one person did possibly get injured from the fire.

He says he doesn’t believe those injuries were severe, “minor injuries potentially. Possibly burns to the hands. Mercy Flights ambulance responded and transported that person to the hospital.”

The fire was accidental.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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