Second alarm called in Montavilla house blaze

Find out why firefighters were forced to flee this burning house, while fighting this fire …

As flames lick up from all sides of this home, firefighters prepare to cut holes in the roof to release smoke and fire gasses from inside the building. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton
A house ablaze lit up the Montavilla sky in outer East Portland on Saturday night, May 18, causing Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to converge on 1422 SE 86th Avenue at 10:34 p.m.

“The first crew, riding Engine 19, reported seeing smoke coming from all visible windows of the 1-1/2 story house,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer AJ Schaffer.

While some crew members were searching for victims, other firefighters pulled water lines into the blazing structure.

After the “flashover”, firefighters battle the blaze from outside the home.

“While they were attacking the fire inside the structure,” Schaffer said, “a ‘flashover’ event occurred. This means that all of the combustible materials in an involved area reached their ignition temperature and caught fire simultaneously.”

The rolling ball of fire forced fire crews to dash out of the burning house, and try to extinguish the fire entirely from outside it. “Finally, crews were then able to re-enter the house, and put the remainder of the fire out.”

While it was not a true “second alarm” fire, the Battalion Chief in charge did request an additional truck and engine company because of the size of the fire, and the number of stories involved.

Firefighters pour streams of water into the burning house.

“Fire crews were able to rescue a small dog that was hiding in a bathroom, and it appeared unharmed,” Schaffer said. “There were no injuries reported at this fire.”

The cause is currently under investigation and damage estimates have yet to be released.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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