EUGENE, Ore. -- A fast-moving fire heavily damaged a duplex just south of Willamette High School on Tuesday evening, leaving several adults without a home and killing one cat.
The fire broke out around 6 p.m. in the 1100 hundred block of Taney Street. Fire crews made it to the scene in less than five minutes and had the flames knocked down about 10 minutes later, officials said.
All of the residents made it out safely, but the building is unlivable.
One person was alerted to the fire by a neighbor knocking on the front door.
"I came out of my room, which is in the back, and saw there was smoke coming out of the kitchen and it was rising pretty quickly," Elliot Glenn said. "So by the time I had gotten out of the house -- it took me a second because I was looking for my cat, who tragically did not make it -- my car was melting."
The man who was banging on the door lives across the street. He told KEZI 9 News that he first spotted the smoke while he was in the backyard with his dog. He told his wife to call 911 and then jumped into action.
"I banged on the door for a little while," Aaron Davis said. "I couldn't get anybody, so I started banging on the windows and finally got a bunch of people to come out."
Fire marshals were on the scene but the cause of the fire is still unknown. One resident said he thought it started in the kitchen, but another said it started outside.
Nineteen firefighters were on the scene of the fire, but flames weren't the only thing they had to deal with -- there was also the extreme heat.
Battalion Chief Ben Meigs, Eugene Springfield Fire Department, said his crews cope with the high heat by being prepared before they leave the station. That means staying in the air-conditioning as much as possible and drinking lots of fluids before they leave. Once they're at the fire, he said, it's crucial that they look out for each other.
"We usually pay a lot more attention to not only our hydration but also to make sure we're not over exerting crews, so we're generally looking for that," Meigs said.