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The Southfork Grange in Lostine is planning several fundraisers to help it recover from Saturday’s fire. (KATY NESBITT/The Observer)
LOSTINE — The work continues to identify the source of a fire that destroyed Norton’s Welding and the Southfork Grange in Lostine Saturday morning, but locals are looking to rebuild history and commerce in the tiny Wallowa County city.
Paul Karvoski, Enterprise fire chief who was the incident commander on the fire, said he turned control of the scene over to Mayor Krag Norton Saturday afternoon. Originally, he said he was not going to ask for a state fire marshal investigation. By Monday, however, there was enough confusion to warrant asking Scott Goff, the region’s fire marshal, to travel from Pendleton to investigate the scene.
Karvoski said he conducted dozens of interviews and has more than 300 pictures of the fire.
“Today, Scott is going to sift through it and look at those heaters,” Karvoski said.
There is some belief, Karvoski said, that the fire may have been started by either an electric space heater or a wall heater.
June Colony of the Southfork Grange said the executive committee is waiting to get the report from the state fire marshal.
“Once we get the go-ahead from the marshal to go on site,” Colony said, “we will be taking up the offers from various equipment operators and community members to get the site cleaned up. We will then be waiting for the marshal’s report to go to the insurance companies for further action on the grange’s part.”
She said the grange will have its usual third Friday of the month potluck next week at the Lostine Community Center.
Members will work out the details for a fundraiser to raise money to clean up the debris.
The fundraiser will be held in early March.
Colony said other fundraisers include selling grange cutlery, raffling a quilt and a conducting a membership drive.
“We recognize the value we have in the community. Our hair’s blown back, but we are still going for it,” Colony said. “As the South Fork Grange, we are looking ahead in a positive way and hoping to partner with other community organizations and dream big for a new community center
The Friday art classes for children are moving to the Lostine Community Center this week, Colony said, and the Soup Nook, which was also held on Fridays at the grange hall, is temporarily on hold.