Residents help fight house fire in Powellhurst-Gilbert

See the fire that officials say could have done more damage, if not for their own efforts – and important fast action by neighbors with a garden hose …

The crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11 wrangle hose lines at the scene of a Powellhurst-Gilbert fire.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters rolled up to a burning house on the 10200 block of SE Boise Street, just before 11:00 p.m. on October 2, the crew of Engine 11 wasn’t surprised to see flames leaping from the structure’s front windows.

But, they were a little anxious, confirmed Battalion Chief Kevin Shanders at the scene, when they found residents and neighbors already fighting the fire. “They saw a woman trying to put out the fire with a garden hose. Firefighters from Engine 11, the first unit on the scene, were able to put out the fire pretty quickly using a [water] line off their engine.”

One firefighter exits the house, after extinguishing the blaze – as another heads inside to look for extensions into other rooms.

When East Portland News arrived on-scene, firefighters were visible working inside the soot-blackened and broken front windows, using heat-source detection gear, searching for hotspots to make sure the fire hadn’t extended out of the room.

“Firefighters stated that two women had kept the fire contained to the living room,” PF&R spokesman Rich Tyler later reported. “Their efforts reduced the amount of damage to the home. Firefighters quickly entered the house and extinguished the fire. The fire was under control at 11:06 p.m.”

Residents and neighbors used the garden hose, next to the fire truck line, to fight the fire before firefighters arrived.

Two people were injured, Tyler added. “One male resident was injured due to smoke inhalation and transported to a local hospital. The female neighbor who had helped battle the fire also was injured. She took herself to the hospital with a minor injury.”

The cause of the fire has been determined accidental, commented Tyler. “A lamp was accidentally knocked over; it ignited the curtains in the living room. The three residents will be displaced tonight and are staying with friends.”

Inside the house, firefighters look carefully and use sophisticated equipment to make sure all remnants of the fire have been completely extinguished.

Tyler pointed out that one of the neighbors used a fire extinguisher, in addition to the neighbor’s garden hose. “We encourage all citizens to keep a fire extinguishers easily accessible within their homes. And, to perform a ‘quick check’ of fire extinguishers, to make sure they’re in good working condition.”

For an Adobe PDF file of the “Quick Check” document issued by the Oregon State Fire Marshal, CLICK HERE to download from their website.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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