Albany newcomer Conor VanHorn, 23, and his dog were not injured early Monday morning in a fire that destroyed a home at 116 Curtis St. NE.

VanHorn, 23, said he awoke to the sound of shattering glass, went outside to see what was happening and then went back into the house to get some clothes and rescue Haden, his 2-year-old boxer.

Within minutes the 692-square-foot single-story home, owned by the William and Faye Barna trust of Salem, was engulfed with smoke and flames. William Barna was working with fire investigators mid-morning.

Eighteen members of the Albany Fire Department answered the early morning call, along with seven vehicles, according to spokeswoman Sandy Roberts.

Fire investigators and staff from NW Natural looked for the cause of the blaze Monday morning, believed to have started in a carport on the east side of the home.

“I got up about 1:30 a.m. to have a smoke,” VanHorn said. “When I went out to the carport, I could smell an odor and started looking around thinking there may be someone out there because we have a couple couches there.”

VanHorn said when he couldn’t find anyone, he went back to his bedroom, which is one room removed from the carport area.

The fire burned so intensely that a plastic garbage can more than 20 feet away was melted. 

VanHorn shares the home with Blake Winn, who was not home at the time of the fire.

VanHorn said the two men lost everything in the fire, including a 2008 Honda motorcycle valued at about $6,000.

They did not have renter's insurance.

The men moved to Albany from Georgia about six months ago, “because it's so beautiful.”

VanHorn said he works at the Target department store.

“Right now, I need to contact Blake and see what he wants to do,” VanHorn said. “I don’t know what to do yet.”

The Albany Fire Department’s assistance fund and the American Red Cross will help the men.

Fire officials said the building is a total loss. A nearby house was not damaged.

Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.



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