South Central 3-Alarm Fire, Raw Media Recap

This is the raw media recap of a three-alarm fire that started south of downtown Medford, on the night of 4/12/22.

At approximately 9:39p, Medford Fire units were dispatched to 936 S.Central Ave for a reported structure fire. The location is a fuel outlet called Pacific Pride.
We arrived on scene at 10:15p to streets closed in all directions. There were multiple fire units working the blaze, while other engines were still arriving.
At this time, the fire had just been upgraded to a third-alarm. Bringing is a vast array of additional fire units and personnel.
The fire was extreme and was creating several tall fire tornadoes.

Police had shut down all southbound Central Ave traffic at 13th Street. Law Enforcement officers were using loudspeakers to help evacuate a 1/2 mile radius around the burning fuel station. The nearby 24hr WinCo on E.Barnett was told to evacuate customers.

This was the view from the railroad tracks that run through the southern portion of downtown Medford, looking south. At this time, the fire was approximately 40 minutes old.
Raw fuel was actively burning westward, fire personnel were concerned that it would jump the railroad tracks. There were a number of industrial buildings nearby that housed dangerous and flammable chemicals and fuels.
The air was rich with the smells of burning plastic and fuel. Crews were attempting to get to the westside of the tracks to push it away from the industrial buildings.
Large burning chunks of ash and debris were falling around the area we were posted up at. Very dangerous as these could potentially ignite surrounding buildings on fire.
Crews finally were able to maneuver a ladder truck to push back the burning fuel away from the industrial buildings to the west.

We were instructed by law enforcement to leave the area due to their worry of the exterior fuel tanks exploding. Command activated Rogue Valley Task Force 1, which brought in fire units from as far away as Josephine County. Additional law units were brought in from Ashland as well.

As we left the immediate scene, this was the fire looking south from Front St
Shortly before 12:30a, we repositioned to the seventh floor of a downtown Medford parking structure. The birds eye view showed a shocking scene of multiple fires burning bright. There was also a large dark area south of downtown that had no power.
Four minutes later, there was a massive explosion that created an upwards fire ball.
Crews continued to try and keep the exterior tanks cool in hopes that they could stop or at least limit any potential explosions and/or leaks.
Prior to each explosion, presumably fuel would burn quickly and send up and enormous plume of dark black smoke.
Flames were burning high into the sky.
This was the largest explosion we caught on camera. We believe this to be the one of the four exterior tanks that blew up.
Crews would work throughout the night and into Wednesday morning. Approx 50 firefighters battled the blaze.

We left at around 1:30a after the fourth tank exploded, fire command was releasing some Rogue Valley Task Force 1 units as they believed they had enough on scene units to stop any further potential spread.

This is still an ongoing incident and police say they expect the streets around the fire to be closed for up to 48 hours. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on MedfordAlert.com

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