‘Excess contents’ hampers firefighters in Centennial Neighborhood house fire

See what firefighters had to contend with – which almost cost this resident her life. She got away with only singed hair; her house didn’t fare so well …

Portland Fire & Rescue crews make their way into this house, to quench remaining blazes. All photos by PF&R Photographer Greg Muhr

Story by David F. Ashton
Even when most folks are having fun on the weekend, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews are on duty to head out to fires like this one, in the Centennial Neighborhood.

On Saturday, May 21 at 4:46 p.m., firehouse alarms went off and PF&R Station 7 firefighters were directed to a fire at the 1600 block of SE 150th Ave. Initial reports were that an occupant had fallen asleep in the living room and woke up to find the room on fire.

“The crew reported seeing smoke from several blocks away,” said PF&R spokesman Tommy Schroeder. The Station 7 reported heavy fire showing from both the front and rear of the house.

On the roof, firefighters cut holes to ventilate the smoke and make sure fire in the attic have been extinguished.

Firefighters quickly initiated an interior attack and were able quickly stop the fires progression, Schroeder reported. “Then, they took hose lines inside while other crews started cutting vent holes in the roof to remove excess heat vertically. Due to the large fire involvement firefighters also had to cut holes in the attic space and eaves to gain access to void spaces where fire can hide.”

One hazard inside the home, Schroeder said, was “the large amount of excess contents piled up throughout the home. It both impeded firefighters’ access, create an additional fuel load. It also potentially creates a condition where contents collapse on, or impede, firefighters in an emergency.”

Firefighters look for any remaining “hot-spots” that might make the fire flare up again.

AMR paramedics called to the scene gave medical attention to the occupant, who was reported by a caller to have singed hair from the fire; the victim was not transported for medical care.

Considering the complexity of this house fire, crews were happy that no one was seriously injured during the event.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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