THE DALLES, Ore. — A Wasco County man killed in the Substation Fire near The Dalles on Wednesday was trying to protect his neighbor's property, police said Thursday morning.
The Wasco County Sheriff's office identified the victim as 64-year-old John Ruby. Authorities found his body near a burned-out tractor in a field that had been consumed by the wildfire.
"It appears from the investigation that Mr. Ruby was making efforts to protect his neighbor’s property by creating a fire line to prevent the fire’s advance," said Detective Sgt. Jeff Hall. "Sheriff Magill and the entire office extend condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ruby."
Rachel Kaser, Ruby's cousin, told KGW she would remember him for his sense of humor.
"He always seemed to be smiling and laughing. He will be missed," she said.
A donation fund has been set up for the Van Orman/Ruby Family at Columbia Bank on East 3rd Street in The Dalles.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also offered condolences after Ruby's death.
“Our sympathies are with the families and friends impacted by the devastating death of the farmer in the community there and our hearts go out to the families impacted by this death,” she said.