Discarded smoke blamed for Thanksgiving Day Hazelwood house blaze

This fire could have been avoided, officials say. Here’s what’s known about this sad Holiday occurrence …

A Portland Police Bureau sergeant photographs PF&R Truck 7 arriving at the scene of this fire in Hazelwood. Sgt. Robb Hansen photo

By David F. Ashton
When alarm bells rang in Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) stations at 1:06 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon, November 22, crews headed out to a house fire in the 2000 block of SE 101st Avenue, between SE Division and SE Market Streets in outer East Portland.

“Truck 7 and Engine 7 from the Mill Park Station on SE 122nd Avenue arrived first,” PF&R Battalion Chief District 3 Rich Stenhouse told East Portland News at the scene.

Firefighters attack the fire, now spreading into the home’s attic. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“They reported seeing a one-story wood frame ranch-style house with fire showing out of the south side,” Stenhouse continued.

Following protocol, the firefighters arriving first at the fire pulled a water line into the burning house, while other crew members did a room-by-room search of the smoke-filled structure. “They determined all of the occupants were out of the residence. Then, they began attacking the blaze; and looked for the seat of the fire.”

A firefighter “opens” the eves on the outside of this house, above where flames had shot out of the basement window and caught the attic on fire. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

It didn’t take long for firefighters to determine that the blaze started in the basement, Stenhouse said. “But, like so many houses of this era, the fire traveled up in the walls of the structure, and into the attic.”

With arriving crews pulling additional water lines, a total of 24 firefighters simultaneously attacked the fire in the basement, on the main floor, and through holes cut in the roof.

With the fire quickly out, this PF&R Truck 7 firefighter heads back to the engine to get equipment necessary for overhaul [digging out charred materials]. David F. Ashton photo

The fire was deemed extinguished about 19 minutes after firefighters first arrived. But, for several hours, firefighters stayed on-scene to search for hot spots.

“No injuries were associated with this fire,” PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons later reported.

Apparatus stays on-scene, while firefighters make sure no hot spots remain after the fire. David F. Ashton photo

“Investigators have determined that this fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials,” Simmons said. “Investigators estimate damages associated with this fire at $60,000.”

> On our Front Page: Firefighters dodge smoke that bellows up through the roof, as flames inside the home are extinguished. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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