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FAMILIES HOMELESS AFTER FIRES DAMAGE HOMES

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By DAVID COURTLAND

Pilot Staff Writer

Two Brookings area families have been left homeless by residential fires, one in Brookings Monday and the other on Cape Ferrelo Road Tuesday.

After receiving a 10:23 a.m. report of a house on fire, crews from four departments sped to Joe and Dee Ingwerson's home at 95867 Cape Ferrelo Rd. to find it engulfed in flames.

Although the blaze was contained by firefighters in 15 to 20 minutes, "the building is a total loss," said Cape Ferrelo Fire Chief Rich Miller Tuesday afternoon.

"It was a little bit hard to fight, the reason we've been here so long is that there were a few stubborn areas," Miller said.

Firefighters had to use chainsaws to get hoses into some parts of the structure, which Miller said probably dated back to the 1940s and had been remodeled several times.

In addition to Coos Forest, Brookings and Cape Ferrelo fire engines, Pistol River's department was asked to bring its water tender, a fire truck that ferries stored water to places where there are no hydrants.

Cause of the fire and the dollar amount of damage have not been determined, said Miller, adding that it was the first major house fire his crew has fought in about eight months.

Karyn Dagenais of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team said the agency is providing the Ingwersons with emergency shelter, food and clothing.

Joe Ingwerson is the foreman of the city's water treatment plant, and by Tuesday afternoon, Finance Director Paul Hughes had opened an account for the couple at the Harbor branch of Umqua Bank for people to donate to.

On Monday, Brookings neighbors Connie Rasmussen and Pat Brookfield were quick to call 911 after spotting a fire burning in the kitchen of Jim and Darlene Dunsmore's home while the couple were away at work. There two daughters were at school.

"It was kind of a neighborly thing," explained Rasmussen Tuesday afternoon.

"Upon arrival we found the house fully charged with smoke and fire coming out the kitchen window," said Brookings Fire Chief Bill Sharp, whose department received the report of the structure fire at 215 Kindel St. at 3:02 p.m.

The fire was quickly extinguished and the structure ventilated, but extensive damage was done to the kitchen, dining room and living room.

Sharp said damage might have been worse if not for the kitchen sink's spray hose, which melted and was still spraying water in the kitchen area when firefighters arrived. The bedrooms were saved from smoke and heat damage by closed doors.

"We were told on arrival that a cat was still in the house," said Sharp. A search was done and the cat was found in a back bedroom, frightened but unharmed.

A firefighter handed the cat, Tigger, to a grateful Darlene Dunsmore.

"I was so worried about the cat. It's my daughters and she would have been devastated if something had happened to him," Dunsmore said.

The cause of the fire is believed to be a faulty wall outlet in the kitchen.

Dunsmore said she left a crock pot plugged into the wall to cook dinner while she was at work.

Damage to the home and furnishings was estimated at about $50,000.

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