FIRE CONSUMES HOME

November 21, 2001 12:00 am
GUTTED: Fire destroyed this home at the livestock auction yard early this morning, injuring the home's occupants. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
GUTTED: Fire destroyed this home at the livestock auction yard early this morning, injuring the home's occupants. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

ISLAND CITY Two people received burns and a home was completely destroyed by fire early this morning south of Island City.

Mike Stewart, 24, living in a rental home near the Intermountain Livestock yards, awoke just after midnight to find his home engulfed in fire.

With him in the double-wide manufactured home was Belinda Piersen, who awoke first.

According to Union County Deputy Sheriff Jim Voelz, who also works with the La Grande Rural Fire Department, Piersen left the bedroom to flee through a hallway and exit the home.

During her escape, Voelz said, Piersen received burns on her feet and back.

Trying to follow Piersen from the home, Stewart was blown back into the bedroom when air rushed in to feed the fire from the open door. He was able to escape through a bedroom window, receiving burns to his back.

Stewart and Piersen drove to a neighboring home to call the 911 dispatch center just moments after Union County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Chuck Anderson had seen the fire from Interstate 84 and reported it.

Stewart and Piersen were transported by ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital, where Stewart was treated and released.

Piersen was flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment of her burns. A spokeswoman there this morning said that Piersen was in serious condition.

Voelz said that the cause of the fire

wasnt clear, but a deputy state fire marshal from Pendleton was arriving this morning to investigate.

The La Grande Rural Fire Department in Island City called on the La Grande Fire Department for mutual aid. The firefighters had the fire knocked down by 6 a.m.

They were just really lucky, Voelz said of Stewart and Piersen.

They got out in the nick of time.