Fire burned through a Pendleton home Tuesday evening, leaving a family looking for shelter.
Shelley McFarlane, her two adult sons, Nick and Andy McFarlane, their three pets and a guest live at the former church building at the corner of Northwest Ellis Avenue and Sixth Street. Shelley McFarlane said she was painting in the upstairs bathroom when she smelled smoke that had an electric odor. She yelled for Nick, 24, who was working out downstairs.
Nick said he opened a closet door, saw a small flame and grabbed a trash can filled with water, but it wasn’t enough.
“I walked in there with the garden hose, and the closet door blew open and the flames went up,” he said, shivering in shorts and a T-shirt on the curb opposite his home. He said he was able to rescue the family’s two cats while his mother got the dog.
Jessica Kirksey, 21, lives next to the burned home. She said she was coming home from work at about 6:30 p.m. when she drove up Northwest Sixth Street and saw flames erupting from the east end of the long, two-story building.
The Pendleton Fire Department sent three engines and at least a dozen firefighters to combat the blaze. Crews had most of it out shortly after 7 p.m.
Fire marshal Tyler Nokes said two firefighters would watch over the home all night to make sure nothing flares up, and Wednesday the investigation into the cause of the fire will begin.
The building’s east end looked the most burned, but the fire worked through much of the building and chared the exterior of now empty window sills.
A neighbor brought the family jacket and blankets, and said if they need a place to stay she had room. Nokes also notified the Red Cross to help the McFarlanes.
Shelly McFarlane said they have relatives in Pendleton, and one way or another tonight would be OK.
Contact Phil Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0833.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.