ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Hillsboro Fire Department responded to a fire early Friday evening at 202 S. Madison, where flames were reported shooting out of an attached garage.
The house is owned by Unified School District 410 and was being rented by a mother and her children.
The fire was believed to have been started by a short from the electric service.
“This is the service line that was coming from the pole to the house and touching the roof of the garage,” said Ben Steketee, Hillsboro fire chief.
At 5:25 p.m., Steketee was pulling into his driveway and was approached by Al Isaac, who told him there were sparks arcing off the top of a building across the street from the high school.
“When I got there, I saw the smoke coming out of the top of the garage so I ran around to the front door and got all the people out of the house,” Steketee said.
He helped four to five children get out of the house.
“They were middle school and high school kids (and the mom) was not home at the time,” Steketee said.
The fire was concentrated in the attic of the garage, Steketee said, which was difficult to reach because the firemen were battling the smoke and darkness to get to its source.
The electric department was nearby on another call when the fire started, and they were able to cut the power right away because “we suspected it was the service line that was causing the roof to burn,” Steketee said.
“Once one of the firefighters got into position to fight that part of the fire, then we pretty much had it under control,” he said.
Eleven Hillsboro firefighters responded and were able to extinguish the fire in about 11/2 hours.
Steketee said there was extensive water damage, but the fire damage was contained to the structure.
“We had to tear open some dry wall to get to the fire, and I think some clothing may have been damaged, but I think that was about the extent of items damaged.”