New fire engine extinguishes house ablaze

Just how new was the “new Engine 11” before it was put to work at this house fire? Take a look and find out …

In the middle of the night, firefighters roll out to a house fire in the Lents neighborhood, located south of the I-205 Multi-Use Path.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A few hours after the crew at Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Lents Station 11 came to work on March 17, they were riding out to battle a house fire using a brand new Pierce fire engine.

“We had it for just eight hours before the call came in,” a crew member on duty told East Portland News.

When the alarm rang, most of the way through their 24-hour shift, firefighters jumped into their “turnouts” – fire-resistance suits – and pulled on their boots at 2:03 a.m. on March 18, and headed out to a reported house fire in the 8700 block of SE Crystal Springs Blvd.

The following day, the singed stone chimney – and a pile of burned debris – indicates to investigators that this fire started in an aging fireplace.

Some firefighters headed inside the house to make sure everyone was outside.

Meanwhile, other crew members pulled brand new, bright yellow, two-inch water lines from their racks, hooked them up, and started fighting a the fire.

“They found a large body of fire burning in the attic, and in the wall behind the fireplace,” reported PF&R spokesman Tommy Schroeder. “The fire was extinguished quickly by fire-attack crews.”

The second shift to ride Engine 11 – Firefighters Kris Webb and TJ Hadden, Lt. Rob Root, and Firefighter Greg Rose – proudly show off their station’s brand new rig.
A cursory investigation indicated that an aging fireplace was likely the cause of the fire, Schroeder related. “Fireplaces require regular maintenance to ensure that the mortar joints are sound and capable of retaining heat and fire gasses.”

The house had no working smoke detectors, Schroeder observed. “Had the homeowner not been awake, taking the dog for a walk, this could have ended as a real tragedy. As it was, there were no injuries in this incident.”

American Red Cross Columbia Chapter came and assisted the three adults, and four dogs, that resided at the house.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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