The Umatilla County Fire District responded to two chicken-related fires on Wednesday.
In the first, at Townhouse Villa Apartments, no one was injured and the damage to the unit was fairly minor. Around 2:30 p.m., residents of the apartments at 1100 S. Hwy. 395, smelled smoke coming from one of the apartments, and knocked on the door to see if anyone was there. They called the fire department, who responded and busted the door open. Smoke poured out of the door and out of the upstairs window. No one was in the apartment, but the cause of the fire was a whole chicken that had been left in a pot on the stove and was smoldering.
Apartment owner Mike Jewett said four people live in the two-story unit, and they were notified of the fire shortly after it happened.
“The damage was minimal” he said. “It was mostly from where the firemen broke down the door.”
Rachel Strickland, who lives next door to the unit that was smoking, said several of the neighbors smelled smoke and heard the fire alarm going off. Getting concerned when no one answered, Strickland said she called the fire department.
“I panicked,” she said.
About an hour earlier, a chicken coop on East Punkin Center Road caught fire, and was fully engulfed before Umatilla County Fire District crews put it out. The fire was close to the house on the same property, but did not affect the home. Fire Marshal Tom Bohm said the fire was caused by a heat lamp, and that five Guinea hens died.