As of Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated with donation information
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office this morning identified the man who died Wednesday in the Substation fire as John Ruby, a 64-year-old longtime Wasco County resident.
The press release stated the fire is “incendiary in nature” and is being investigated by the sheriff’s office, the Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
“The public and the media are urged not to speculate on the cause of the fire. The investigation is ongoing and information will be released as soon as it is available.”
The Oregon State Police established a tip-line today. Anyone with information is urged to call 800-452-7888.
The release stated “Sheriff [Lane] Magill and the entire office extend condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ruby.”
Ruby was mentioned in a Chronicle article in May, when Vicki Petroff thanked Ruby for helping teach her son Luke, who’d recently won a high school welding contest, how to weld.
A press release from the sheriff’s office said it appeared Ruby was discing a fireline to protect a neighbor’s property.
Deputies responded to a call of a burnt tractor Wednesday afternoon. They located the tractor and found Ruby’s body a short distance away.
In a Facebook post Thursday Cynthia Kortge wrote, "The devastation of this monster fire is unmatched in over 50 years in Wasco County as we tragically lost our friend and neighbor John Ruby as he tried unselfishly to save a neighbors homestead. In a tragic twist of fate one of the homes lost Tuesday evening belonged to John’s in-laws, the VanOrman family.
"For those looking for a way to help this entire family rebuild their lives we have set up a donation fund at Columbia State Bank.
"We immensely appreciate the love and support as we we grieve with the Ruby & VanOrman family."