'It was the family of one of our firefighters': Deadly fire impacts small town of Riddle
RIDDLE, Ore. - A firefighter arrived at the scene of a deadly blaze early Wednesday morning only to realize it was his sister's family's home.
"It was the family of one of our firefighters," Chief Rich Holloway said, “so he's dealing with that currently."
The fire killed 4 children and seriously injured 2 adults and a teenage boy.
Chief Holloway said this tragic incident has affected many in the community, including the fire department.
"We held a critical incident stress debriefing last night,” Chief Holloway said Thursday, “we're also going to continue that effort for the next few days."
Holloway was the first responder on scene after a neighbor called 911.
He said the fire was the worst he has ever seen in his career.
Investigators spent time on the property and determined a space heater in the living room was placed too close to combustible material.
Holloway said after the fire started, a smoke alarm woke up the family inside the home.
He said the family purchased that space heater just two days prior to the incident.
"They had lost the heater fan for their fireplace insert several days prior, and that was the reason for the purchase of the new space heater until they could get that fixed," Holloway said.
The Riddle community has come together in a big way, leaving gifts in front of the family's charred home.
"Our thoughts are with the family and hoping they get through this," said Dwes Hutson with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The family affected by the fire is asking for privacy during this time but said they thank the public for their support.