Sheriff: 4 fatalities confirmed from Almeda Fire

Wildfires

Crews are still surveying the damage

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Four people have died in the Almeda Fire, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday night. While that figure is confirmed, it is still a preliminary number as recovery teams continue to sift through the neighborhoods damaged by the fire.

The Almeda Fire left a trail of devastation behind in Southern Oregon. Hundreds of homes and businesses across Talent and Pheonix were destroyed and much of the area remains under a Level 3 evacuation order.

Initially, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said dozens of people were listed as missing. By Saturday night, the sheriff’s office revised that figure to just one missing person.

“There were approximately 50 persons being sought as missing related to the fire as of this morning. This afternoon that number was reportedly at zero. But Detectives have updated that and believe there is at least one person still unaccounted for. This number fluctuates with the potential for more as yet unreported missing persons being reported.”

For residents in the area, there’s little left to do but try and pick up the pieces. Evacuation orders and roadblocks are still active, but some people still returned to dig through the ashes of what was once their homes.

“That was our garage,” said Talent resident Lexi Soulios. “And we had just stored up, so like thousands of dollars worth of food over the last few months because of the pandemic.”

She said she didn’t understand why people were offering to give her clothes and had to be reminded that all of her clothes had just burned up.

Another woman said she had at least 10 friends who are now without a home.

The sheriff said looting in the area has been a problem. Deputies have made several arrests, including at least eight from Friday alone.

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