House blaze touched off by ‘careless smoker’ in Centennial neighborhood

See why firefighters say that this fire – a conflagration which destroyed this home – could easily have been avoided …

Fire was leaping out this home’s window when firefighters arrived on scene. Dick Harris Photo

Story by David F. Ashton
A morning house fire on July 26 destroyed a Centennial neighborhood house, and left four adults homeless. Sadly, officials say, with just a little care, this fire hadn’t had to have happened at all.

“At 6:49 am, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters responded to reports of a house fire in the 14500 block of SE Rhine Street,” reports bureau spokesman, Paul Corah. “Upon arrival, crews found heavy fire coming from the front window of the house.”

“A 54-year-old disabled male was able to crawl to the door and was reportedly carried out of the home by another male occupant. He was transported to Adventist Medical Center due to smoke inhalation,” relates Corah. “Another male occupant received minor burns to his hand as a result of trying to put out the fire from the exterior of the home with a garden hose. His injuries did not require transport to a hospital.”

Firefighters treat a man said to have received minor burns while trying to put out the house fire with a garden hose. Dick Harris Photo

Corah continues, “Four occupants were in the home at the time the fire broke out, including an 84-year-old female and two other males, ages 50 and 58.

“Within 20 minutes after the first fire engine arrived, firefighters had extinguished the blaze.

“The total estimated value from the fire is $220,000,” Corah adds. “The structural loss is estimated to be $150,000, and the home’s contents are considered a complete loss.”

After the fire was extinguished, PF&R investigators sifted through the rubble. After carefully examining the charred evidence, they declared that the fire was caused by “smoker’s carelessness”.

“We keep reminding smokers of this, because it is important,” Corah concludes, “Please use caution when disposing of smoking materials.”

Neighbors comfort a resident of the home, now destroyed by fire, caused by “smoker’s carelessness”. Dick Harris Photo

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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