MADRAS, Ore. - A fire that caused nearly $50,000 damage to a home north of Madras Thursday afternoon was traced to a heat lamp for some baby chicks that got too close to a kiddie pool and caught the carpet, floor and sub-floor on fire, an official said.
Some baby chicks were lost to the blaze, but several other animals, including several snakes, survived, said Fire Chief Brian Huff of Jefferson County Fire District No. 1.
Huff said crews responded to the reported possible house fire in the 1000 block of Northwest Elm Lane, five miles north of Madras.
Huff said smoke was coming from most of the crawlspace vents on the west end of the single-story home when he arrived.
Circling the home, "you could see that the entire home was full of smoke," Huff said.
Bystanders said they had opened a couple of windows and got two dogs to jump out.
With all the doors locked, Huff said he shut the open windows to contain the fire until crews were in place to conduct a search for occupants and the fire.
Firefighters forced their way in through a security screen door and the locked front door, the fire chief said, and "within seconds they were reporting knock-down of the fire and finding and removing multiple additional animals."
In total, five dogs, two cats, several snakes and mice and other rodents, possibly for the snakes, were rescued, Huff said, but "there were seeral baby chick casulaties in the area of origin," where the heat lamp was, in a bedroom.
The two residents, who were away from home at the time, declined Red Cross assistance, saying they have relatives in the area, Huff said.