A fire of unknown origin destroyed the home of a Wallowa County couple and injured two firefighters on the afternoon of Jan. 22. The home belonged to Ken and Annie Nash of Enterprise and was located on Homan Lane west of Enterprise. The residents did not suffer any injuries.
At around 12:30 p.m., units from both the Enterprise and Joseph fire departments responded to a report of a fire on. Eight units and about 20 firefighters were on scene.
Enterprise fire chief and county emergency services director Paul Karvoski said firefighters of both departments battled the blaze for more than an hour before wind, injuries and the fire’s severity forced them to stop. Karvoski said the home, a 1940s structure with several additions, was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
The chief said that the fire started in the northwest corner of the home.
“We had a west wind, which did not support our fire operations at all –– it was a complete hindrance,” he said. “We kept fighting the fire as best as we could, but it got unsafe after the first few minutes of arrival.” He added that two Enterprise firefighters received unspecified injuries directly related to fighting the fire, which led to the decision to fight the blaze outside the structure.
“The wind just acted like a funnel through that house,” Karvoski said. “We fought it for about an hour, and it kept getting worse. We weren’t gaining on it at all and pretty much everything in the house was a complete loss.” At that point, Karvoski said that the homeowners made a decision to cease fire operations out of concern for the firefighters. The crews stayed on scene until shortly after 3 p.m.
One of the injured firefighters was taken to Wallowa Memorial Hospital while the other visited a doctor Tuesday morning. Karvoski said that both are expected to make a full recovery.
“It’s a sad thing to see,” Karvoski said about the home loss, “but the safety of our firefighters is priority number one.”