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  • Last modified 35 days ago (Oct. 18, 2017)

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Artist’s home burns

110-year-old Aulne two-story fully engulfed before help can arrive

News editor

A massive inferno consumed an old wooden two-story house in Aulne on Tuesday as firefighters could do little more than make sure the blaze didn’t spread to neighboring properties.

Dispatchers received a call at about 1:20 p.m. from a neighbor across the street that the house at 1412 Pawnee, a block north of Aulne United Methodist Church, was on fire. The caller reported that no one was in the house.

Marion fire chief Mike Regnier was at the fire within six minutes of the page out and coordinated the initial response by radio, and warned incoming units of a live downed power line on Pawnee Rd.

However, by the time the first firefighters arrived, the 110-year-old house, built in 1907, was already beyond saving.

Flames poured from doorways and windows, and people in Marion reported seeing a pillar of black smoke.

Peabody and Hillsboro firefighters joined the battle, with all three departments working to decrease the intensity of the blaze and keep it from spreading. They redirected their efforts as sections of the house started to collapse, causing huge flare-ups.

Owner Julie Starks moved into the house with her two daughters in 2011 when the property was in disrepair. Over Memorial Day weekend in 2013, a large group of volunteers from Aulne United Methodist Church helped Starks clear debris and trim trees to improve the property.

Starks also operated her metal-crafting arts business, Mental Case Metal Works, on the property, although she reportedly had stopped work in August pending some planned upgrades.

County assessor records list the value of the house at $32,020, and $38,880 including the land.

A state fire marshall investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the fire.

Last modified Oct. 18, 2017

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