Five College of the Siskiyous students lost all their possessions when the home they were renting on Oregon Street in Weed caught fire early Sunday morning.

Five College of the Siskiyous students lost all their possessions when the home they were renting on Oregon Street in Weed caught fire early Sunday morning.

The cause of the fire was a short in the electrical panel inside one of the bedrooms, said Weed Fire Department captain Matt Hill.

“It’s something you never think will happen to you,” said sophomore Cameron Abeene, whose hair was singed as he escaped from the burning house. “It was a surreal experience. I’m just happy we all made it out okay. It easily could have been a lot worse.”

Abeene, from Eugene, Ore., and his roommates – Justin Leatherman from Portland, Ore.; Conner Young from Lake Oswego, Ore.; Kenny Spencer from Milwaukie, Ore.; and Lanana Meekisho from Aloha, Ore. – lost all their clothing, shoes, furniture, electronics, and irreplaceable personal possessions, such as state championship rings.

The roommates are all football players at COS.

To help them get back on their feet, a poker night fundraiser and dessert auction is schedule for Saturday, May 3, said COS instructor Jayne Turk, who is organizing the event. The location is still up in the air.

Tickets are $20 and available at Scott Valley Bank in Weed and Mount Shasta, and from Turk by calling 530-859-1771.

When the Weed Fire Department arrived at 519 Oregon Street at about 4:15 a.m., all the students were outside and unharmed, said Hill. The fire spread rapidly throughout the old mill house.

Mill houses tend to have “void spaces” where fire can get trapped, making them difficult to extinguish, Hill explained.

“It’s unfortunate their house burned, but the crews did a great job of keeping the fire from spreading,” said Hill.

Also responding to the fire were departments from Lake Shastina and Hammond Ranch, as well as the Mount Shasta Fire Protection District and CAL FIRE.

Abeene and three former roommates, who were visiting for the weekend, were inside the home when the fire started, he said.

Their visiting friend, Harley Yutzie, was sleeping in Meekisho’s room when he woke up at about 4 a.m. to flames in the closet. He woke everyone up.

Abeene said the smoke was so thick he couldn’t see the wall three feet in front of him when he ran outside in nothing but his boxer shorts.

Their black lab, Chubs, also got out of the house safely.

The students are currently staying at the Hi Lo Motel in Weed. They were assisted by the American Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team, which responded Monday morning.

Leatherman and Abeene will graduate from COS next month and plan to attend colleges out of state. The other three roommates will need to find a new place to live for next year.

The men are sizes large, extra large and XXL, shoe sizes 10 and 13.

“People have been really helpful,” said Leatherman, by donating food and clothing. “I’m just glad all my buddies are alive.”

Donations of any kind can be dropped off at the COS Football Office, and coach Charlie Roche will ensure they get to the students.

You can also call Leatherman at 971-222-4262 or Young at 503-481-8566.