|Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008|
The home of longtime park aquatic ecologist Mark Buktenica and his family was destroyed by fire on Thursday, January 10th. The fire broke out around 9 p.m. that evening. Their property is located about 12 miles outside of Ashland, Oregon, and is accessed by a driver thatâs about a quarter-mile long. By the time Mark and Abby arrived home that evening, the house was almost fully involved. Their pets (two dogs and a cat) were inside the burning building when they arrived. Mark forced his way into the house, rescuing the unconscious animals. They made a 911 call to the fire department, then left their house to take their pets to emergency care in Medford. Unfortunately, one of their cherished dogs did not survive. The fire department was hampered from getting to the home by the snow conditions on the lane to the property. The loss is total, the structure having burned to the foundation. The Buktenicas lost practically everything they own in the blaze. The cause is still unknown. For now, Mark, Abby, and their three children (Jessie 17, Alex 15, and Meggy 14) have access to a furnished house in Ashland. While the property and contents were insured, the amount of coverage will probably not be enough to cover all of their losses. And, as Abby said, so many of their most precious possessions were the things more sentimental than material in value. A donation account has been set up at a local bank for those wishing to assist the family financially (Key Bank, 183 E. Main St., Ashland, OR, 97520, 541-482-2451). If you have specific questions or cards and letters to forward to Mark and Abby and their family, please contact Scott Girdner at the park or call him at 541-594-3078.