Witnesses said they saw a large column of black smoke on the Dike Road hillside near Rainier and their calls triggered a quick response from Columbia River Fire & Rescue crews.
As the calls came into 911 just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, June 24, fire crews being dispatched from the Rainier station said they could see a large column of black smoke coming from the hill above Rainier. Dispatchers also received a report of a house fire in the 28000 block of Old Rainier Road.
Firefighters arrived at the Old Rainier Road address to find a large fire that had consumed an old house and the fire was threatening nearby structures. Crews were able to knock down the blaze and sprayed water on the nearby house, barn and shed to keep those structures from burning.
According to a release from Columbia Fire and Rescue, the nearby barn housed two frightened but curious cows who were unharmed.
On-scene fire crews requested two additional water tenders from the Deer Island and Goble fire stations to respond and assist with providing water to extinguish the fire. An engine from Clatskanie was also requested and responded to provide manpower to extinguish the flames.
In all, two fire engines, three water tenders, one medic, two chiefs and 13 firefighters responded to the blaze.
Downed power lines, a steep driveway, and narrow roads slowed the response to the fire.
No one had lived in the building for at least the last several months. The old home was being used to store bales of hay and various old auto parts and other shop type materials.
The building was a complete loss, and no one was injured. The cause of the fire is believed to have been electrical. A dollar loss estimate is not yet available.
Columbia County Fire & Rescue officials are urging the public not to use electrical extension cords for permanent or long-term power supply. Extension cords should be inspected regularly, and damaged cords should be replaced.