Coast Radio News

Fire leaves three homeless; brush fire blackens space north of Florence; School board to meet; Wildland fire forces overnight closure of Highway 138; and gas prices increase

Blaze destroys Florence home, leaves three homeless

Fire completely destroyed a single family residence Tuesday afternoon on 17th street east of Highway 101, leaving the occupants homeless and destroying nearly all their belongings.

Nobody was injured, but Andrew Kellerman didn’t even have time to put his shoes on before leaving the house as it burned.

He and his wife, Marcy Kellerman, along with a teen age son, lived in the home.  Red Cross responded yesterday afternoon with emergency housing and assistance.

Firefighters were on the scene of an earlier fire north of Florence when the call came in at 1:30.  On their arrival, they found smoke and flames coming from every window, as well as from several spots on the roof.  They were able to knock the blaze down, but had to call for assistance from Reedsport to aid in mopping up and overhauling the structure.

Fire Marshall Sean Barrett said they haven’t determined the cause of the blaze but he said they would begin the investigation today.

Fire crews fight brush fire north of Florence

Firefighters responded to a fire in heavy brush two miles north of Florence yesterday morning.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, along with the Oregon Department of Forestry worked what amounted to be about a half-acre fire behind the Central Lincoln PUD substation near Taylor Road.  The blaze was about a quarter mile off Highway 101.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett said the cause of the fire is still unknown, but he added, there were a large number of transients seen leaving the area as firefighters arrived on scene.

Crews worked more than two hours to cut a containment line around the blaze.  The warm and dry weather made it tougher and firefighters were concerned about afternoon winds.  They were able to contain it before those winds materialized and the fire could reach nearby trees.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews continued to mop up throughout the afternoon and were conducting a fire-cause investigation.

Wildfire closes Douglas County highway overnight

Highway 138, six miles southeast of Elkton was closed late yesterday afternoon and overnight as fire crews battled a wildland fire next to the roadway.  Hot and dry conditions in the Umpqua Valley contributed to the volatility of the fire.  The highway was kept closed overnight and reopened at four a.m. to one lane of traffic.  Flaggers are being used to control traffic through the area as timber fallers and Oregon Department of Transportation crews are clearing hazard trees along the highway.

School Board meets

The Siuslaw School Board will work on goal setting and self evaluation this week.

The board meets this evening, 6:30, at the District Office on Oak Street.

When they get together they’ll talk about a self evaluation process as well as the process for evaluating the job performance of Superintendent Andy Gzreskowiak.

Gzreskowiak is also expected to talk about facility planning with the board.

Hickson assumes editorial role at Siuslaw News

Sports editor and syndicated columnist Ned Hickson has another title to add to his resume this week.

Hickson was named editor of the Siuslaw News.  He takes over the position that has been filled by Ryan Cronk since early 2015.  Cronk is assuming the post of group editor for several newspapers in Central California, all owned by the News Media Corporation, the parent company of the Siuslaw News.

Hickson has been with the Siuslaw News since 1998.  He is only the fourth editor at the twice-weekly publication since 1982.

Gas prices rise

Despite the beginning of a switch to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend fuel, prices at the pump took a sudden increase in Florence and the rest of Oregon this week.

Locally, the average cash price for a gallon of regular gas increased by four cents to $2.35…. the Oregon statewide average as measured by Triple-A went up five cents, it’s at $2.51.

Matthew Conde with Triple-A said the hike is primarily due to continued high demand for limited supplies in the northwest.

He said the national average price dipped by two cents a gallon this week; it’s currently at $2.18.