Grand Ave. house fire leaves man burned

By Eliot Sill
Hillsboro Star Journal – April 22, 2015

hillsboro fire 4222015

A house fire at 311 W. Grand Ave. in Hillsboro left owner Melvin Reimer of Hillsboro with burns as at least a dozen emergency vehicles from Hillsboro, Marion, and the sheriff’s department responded.
Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said the blaze was put out shortly after firefighters arrived.
“It was mostly smoke when we got here,” he said. “We ventilated the house to get most of the smoke out, and we found a couch on fire to be the source of the blaze, as far as we can tell.”
Witnesses said Reimer reported waking up to the smell of smoke before coming out to find his living room ablaze. He reportedly attempted to put the fire out before giving up and exiting the home. He sustained severe burns to his wrist, hands, and feet, and was examined by emergency medical technicians, but he declined transportation.
Steketee said no other people were in the home, and multiple searches didn’t discover any pets.
From the sidewalk, the home appeared to sustain significant burn damage and charring. Steketee said the home sustained flame and heat damage, but no structural damage. The windows of the home were broken to aid the ventilation process, Steketee said.
Per standard procedure for structure fires, Marion and Peabody fire departments were paged to the scene. Hillsboro firefighters had the blaze under control before Peabody fire responded, so they were called off. Marion firefighters arrived on scene and stayed briefly before returning to Marion.
Steketee said authorities attempted to contact the Red Cross to provide shelter for Reimer, but he told authorities he had a place to stay.

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