DELIVERY BOY SPOTS SMOKE

June 06, 2003 11:00 pm
FIRE FIGHT: A La Grande firefighter directs a stream of water on a fire Friday that heavily damaged a home at  2816 Second Street in La Grande. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
FIRE FIGHT: A La Grande firefighter directs a stream of water on a fire Friday that heavily damaged a home at 2816 Second Street in La Grande. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

The sharp eyes of a neighborhood newspaper delivery boy may have helped keep a Second Street home from being totally lost to fire Friday.

According to Sandra Nelson, the mother of 14-year-old Adam Lemmons, her son was delivering The Observer to homes along the 2800 block of Second Street when he saw smoke coming from the two-story home at 2816 Second Street. Adam soon spotted flames coming from the windows, his mother said, at about the same time as the female resident of the house pulled up.

"The lady came home and asked him to call the fire department from another house," Nelson said. So Adam ran next door and had someone at that house call 9-1-1.

Adam, Nelson said, hasn't said a great deal about his role in Friday's fire, and Nelson hasn't pressured her son about his feelings. Nelson lost another son, Adam's brother, and her home several years ago to fire. "I didn't bring it up with him," she said, as Adam slept in Saturday morning.

"I just feel so sorry for that lady," Nelson said.

The fire, reported at shortly after 12:40 p.m., was confined to the first floor of the home, said La Grande Fire Department Capt. Emmett Cornford. There was extensive fire and heat damage done to that floor, he said, but much of the second-floor was left untouched except by smoke.

No one was inside the house at the time of the fire, and the home's occupants were unidentified this

morning.

According to American Red Cross volunteers, an insurance agent arranged for lodging for the residents, arriving while firefighters were still at the scene.

Cornford said that the fire department had two engines and 14 firefighters at the scene, but had initially called the La Grande Rural Fire Department to provide mutual aid when La Grande volunteer firefighters didn't arrive immediately because of the mid-day, work-day

timing.

La Grande Rural firefighters from Island City arrived with five firefighters, an engine and a support truck, which weren't called into service during the hour-and-a-half-long battle to douse the flames.

Cornford said that the fire did prove "a little stubborn" to put out in one front corner area of eaves. He said fire investigators will be at the house today, trying to determine where and how the fire started.