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West Roseburg house nearly destroyed by roof fire

A Roseburg woman was sent to the hospital Saturday night after her house caught fire in the Hucrest neighborhood in the west part of town.

The Roseburg Fire Department responded to the blaze at 8:41 p.m. at 2240 N.W. Merle Ave. Initial reports said the roof was on fire and the house was still occupied, Fire Marshall Tony DiMare said.

DiMare said houses are usually located within 250 feet of a fire hydrant, but this one was almost 1,500 feet away from the closest hydrant. The house also had a steep and narrow gravel driveway that was not well maintained, creating another challenge for firefighters, he said.

Firefighters had to lay a 5-inch hose up the driveway, a process which took extra time to get to the burning house, he said.

DiMare said the occupants heard noises coming from the attic after starting a fire in the fireplace. Neighbors soon saw the roof ablaze and called 911.

Homeowner Marla Mulholland was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg. A hospital spokesman said this morning Mulholland was treated and released. Another occupant of the house, Scott Pyle, escaped unharmed, DiMare said.

Firefighters found power lines down in the driveway when they arrived, DiMare said. The fire spread quickly, and a detached shed also caught on fire.

“The wind was blowing good and embers were flying around,” he said.

DiMare said about 20 firefighters responded. The department was assisted by Douglas County Fire District No. 2, Pacific Power and Avista Gas.

Firefighters stayed on the scene for several hours to check hot spots, DiMare said.

Neighbor Eleanor Piper said this morning her backyard is adjacent to the burned house’s driveway. She said she saw flames reaching into the sky but could not see the house itself.

“I saw it above the bushes. It was horrible, just huge flames,” she said.

DiMare said the property is valued at $231,000 and estimated it received about $150,000 worth of damage to the house and contents. It may have to be leveled, he said.

• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or by email at bswanback@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated May 6, 2013 12:52PM Published May 7, 2013 10:25AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.