As residents rebuild, Idaho's Hospital Fire reveals challenges of urban fires

  • Source: Spokane Public Radio
  • Published: 09/18/2023 12:00 AM

Joanne Schwartz and her husband John count themselves as some of the lucky ones. On August 29, the Orofino Hospital Fire scorched 53 acres, destroying six homes and multiple outbuildings in the Wixson Heights neighborhood, according to the Idaho Department of Lands. The blue Schwartz home sits on the end of the road where most houses caught fire. John Schwartz was home when he heard his neighbors yelling to get out. “I went to the backyard and started hooking up sprinklers and then a wall of flame come out here and hit Baker’s house. It must have been 40, 50 feet in the air and that house just exploded,” he said. Joanne Schwartz was already downtown when the evacuation order came. The side of their house is burned with damaged windows.


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