Chimney fire sets Hazelwood house ablaze

No one was hurt, but this fire caused considerable damage. There’s something to be learned from a fire like this, officials say …

Firefighters bring in hose lines and ladders to attack a fire in the Hazelwood neighborhood. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton
Just one minute after neighbors called 9-1-1 to report a house fire, just north of NE Glisan Street on NE 108th Ave.. at 3:05 p.m. on January 14, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were already on their way.

The firefighters of Engine 30 pulled up first. Upon arrival, they reported seeing smoke from the rear of the home, and thought initially that it looked like an attic fire.

“They saw what was reported: Heavy smoke from a one-story residence,” PF&R spokesman Ron Rouse confirmed.

Although the neighbors who called in the alarm told firefighters they’d seen the occupants drive away prior to the fire starting, one crew searched the smoke-filled house for victims or pets.

On the roof, crews cut “vertical ventilation”, allowing heat and combustible gasses to escape. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Other firefighters pulled hose lines, broke out ladders, and began attacking the fire – containing it to the attic and walls. When the fire was extinguished, they overhauled the area (pulling out burnt material), and Investigators began looking for the cause.

“This is listed as an ‘unintentional fire’ that started in an enclosed wood area,” Rouse told East Portland News. “It appears as if heat from a stove or fireplace started the fire.”

Combined loss from contents and structure at this outer East Portland home was set at $60,000.

At the back of the house, it becomes clear that sparks or flames got into the chimney’s wooden enclosure. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“Even on cold days, take extra care if you leave a fire burning in a wood stove or fireplace,” cautioned Rouse. “The heat can set off unintentional fires, like this one.”

American Red Cross Cascades Region Disaster Volunteers responded, assisting three adults and one child displaced by the fire.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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