Jeff Wright was out mowing the lawn of his Geary Street home shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday when he smelled smoke.
At first he thought something might be on fire down by the Willamette River, several blocks from his house. Then he saw smoke and flames coming from 115 Geary, on the other side of the street, just a few homes away.
"I ran down as fast as I could," Wright said.
Flames covered the south side of the home, charring the walls of the two-story building.
Wright is a firefighter/emergency medical technician with the Scio Rural Fire Protection District and knew his first job was to get everyone out safely. The front door of the house was open, and as he approached he saw a woman standing there, holding a baby. Just behind her was another woman with another small child.
"I told them the house was on fire, they needed to get out," he said. "I said I was going to clear the house."
Wright went through the home, searching each room for more people, then darted back outside. By then, the fire was beginning to come through the side window.
Wright saw a small garden hose in the front yard, attached to a sprinkler.
"I pulled it and started to attack the side of the building, the eaves, the back window, the fence," he said. "The whole side of the house was engulfed. I didn't want it to take any more of the house, so I just started to put water on it till they (Albany firefighters) got there."
Another neighbor had called 911 by this point, and the trucks rolled up moments later.
Fire Chief John Bradner with the Albany Fire Department said it's too early to tell what caused the fire, but it appears to have begun outside. "We don't know why."
The flames did get into at least one room of the home and destroyed some items of furniture, Bradner said. A monetary estimate wasn't immediately available.
The residents — a married couple, another adult woman and six children — were not injured. Only the two women and two of the children were home at the time.
The residents are owners and have insurance, Bradner said.