Woodburn home erupts in flames just before midnight on New Year’s Eve

Updated: Jan. 1, 2018 at 3:34 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, massive flames tore through a house in Woodburn. No one was hurt, but everything was caught on camera.

It was an interesting start to 2018 for folks celebrating the holiday on East Lincoln Street. Many neighbors ditched their couches and TVs just minutes before the ball dropped to watch a home become completely engulfed in flames.

It’s wasn’t exactly fireworks, but still quite the show to ring in the new year. For Rich Raymond, his wife Stephanie and their baby Maya – 2017 ended with a bang. Sounds of the fire and explosions from inside the home can be heard in Raymond’s cell phone video of the chaos.

“We were having a really good New Year’s Eve party with all our family, then her dad, a few minutes before midnight said, ‘the neighbor’s house is on fire’ – he’s a practical joker, so we’re like ya right,” said Raymond.

But dear old dad wasn’t kidding. Just minutes before midnight Raymond spotted massive flames and heard the sounds of explosions. Many neighbors watching the chaos told Raymond that the house was empty.

“We just learned they were actually squatters,” said Raymond.

Neighbors tell FOX 12 that a handful of squatters cycle in and out of the back door of the now charred and destroyed house.

“They were very polite so we didn’t have a problem with it. We still don’t have a problem with it. You can’t judge people by their living conditions. If they’re good people, they’re good people,” said Raymond.

The cause of the New Year’s Eve fire still remains a question.

“Unbelievable how hot the flames are, how big they are…and how your immediate instinct is over the safety of other people,” said Raymond.

A surprising start to 2018, one the Raymond family will never forget.

“That was our bringing in the new year, was watching our neighbors house burn down. Happy new year.”

Woodburn fire crews will be at the home this week to continue investigating. We’re told crews haven’t been able to go inside the home yet because it’s not safe.