HERMISTON - A family of five was displaced Tuesday afternoon after their home was completely destroyed by fire.

No one was at home when the fire started around noon on West Progress Road on the northeast side of Hermiston, said Hermiston Fire and Emergency Service Chief Jim Stearns.

Early investigations are finding that the fire began beneath the floor, he said. What exactly caused the fire to start was still undetermined this morning.

The fire marshal will investigate the blaze beginning today, but foul play has been ruled out, Stearns said.

Hector and Juanita Arellano were both at work or running errands when the fire began, Juanita Arellano said.

Their children, Alba, 11, Kassandra, 7 and Hector Jr., 4, were either at school or with their father, she said.

"(Hector) has been crying about his toys and his music CDs," she said. "The worst has been about a trophy he won for riding a sheep at the fair."

None of the surrounding outbuildings were harmed.

The house was insured, but Arellano said the Agape House and the Umatilla County Chapter of the American Red Cross would pay for a couple of nights in a hotel while the insurance company does its paperwork. The family may stay with family members, too, Arellano said.

Dana Follett of the Red Cross said the family will most likely receive dispersing orders to stores for food and some of the other necessities.

Losing a house that the family has been living in for three years was tough, especially so near the holiday season, Arellano said.

"But we keep remembering that everyone is OK," she said. "We're OK."


Teri Meeuwsen is a reporter in the East Oregonian Hermiston Bureau. She can be reached at (800) 522-0255 (ext. 1302 after hours) or by e-mail at tmeeuwsen@eastoregonian.com.

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