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Gates' averts a potential disaster

Posted: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Alan Gates

Alan Gates of Cottage Grove was just minding his business, rolling out some felt on a roof he was working on in north Eugene, until he heard what sounded like a firecracker. Then he caught a glimpse of the neighbor’s house on fire. He looked and saw an elderly lady on the property mowing the yard, but she could not see the fire and she had on headphones.

“I went down the ladder and hollered but nobody answered,” Gates related. “I ran over there and knocked real loud on the door and nobody answered. So I opened the door and hollered in the house and yelled, ‘the house is on fire and get out.’ I heard someone inside, and then I went around to assess the fire to see what was going on.”

Gates saw a six to eight-foot flame coming up on the side of the house between the garage and the house. The barbeque that was hooked up to the natural gas line was on fire. There was also a propane tank with a little barbeque hooked to it on fire.

“Everything was engulfed in flames,” said Gates. “In a second I tried to figure out whether to put it out or turn and run. Then the propane line came apart from the little barbeque and was swirling around like a snake with its head cut off with flames coming out the other end like a little torch. I reached down to the propane tank and pulled it towards me and shut off the natural gas line.

That’s when the guy from inside came through the door with a fire extinguisher, but he was an older guy and wasn’t doing very good, so I grabbed the fire extinguisher and really doused the wall of the house and barbeque real good.”

Gates said it all happened in about five to 10 seconds.

For the complete article see the 05-15-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-15-2013 paper.

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