Chimney fire spreads to attic, in Hazelwood home

It could have been worse – but the residents are left with a big hole in their roof. See how you can prevent this from happening to you …

Firefighters work to contain a chimney fire that has also set the attic ablaze. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Story and most photos by David F. Ashton
Residents at 2323 SE 137th Avenue, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, came running outside after their house caught on fire at 3:45 p.m. on January 13.

A neighbor said that, earlier in the day, he’d seen a man chopping wood and taking inside the house. “It looked like he was getting ready to make a big fire,” George Brown told East Portland News.

A firefighter opens the valve at a fire hydrant, filling the hose line

.. that extends up the street for about two blocks to the house fire.

By the time Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews from their Hazelwood Station, arrived on Truck 7 and Engine 7, minutes after the call, they reported that the “chimney fire” to which they responding had also ignited a blaze in the attic space.

Firefighters first made sure all of the residents had exited the building.

The crew of Gilbert Station on Engine 29 rolled in, and “pulled all the lines from their rig’s bed” to reach the hydrant, located almost two blocks south, at SE Division Street.

Firefighters ladder up to the rooftop as they fight the fire.

“Truck 7’s firefighters also went to the roof to help ventilate the home,” recounted PF&R spokesman Ron Rouse. “Cutting open the roof allows heat to escape, and allows ready access to the fire.”

The fire was contained to the attic, and was quickly extinguished by firefighters, Rouse said. “No one was injured during this incident.”

Smoke escapes from the hole crews cut in the roof.

The loss in thie fire was estimated to be $46,500.

“This fire is a good reminder that a chimney should be cleaned at least once a year,” Rouse pointed out. “It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire.”

Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. He said. “Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency,” Rouse concluded.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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