‘Smoldering BBQ coals’ blamed for four-plex fire

It’s true: This two-alarm blaze was started by unattended hot coals. See how many people are homeless because of this carelessness …

In the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, an early morning blaze brings firefighters to an outer East Portland four-plex.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A fire that broke out behind an in-line four-plex, in the wee hours of Friday, October 7, turned into a major blaze.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews bounced in on the unpaved, potholed street to 5655 SE 123rd Avenue – in the rainy darkness, at 4:36 a.m. – the lieutenant immediately called for a “second alarm” to bring additional units and firefighters to the scene after seeing flames leaping from the back of the structure.

Firefighters stand down after the main body of the fire has been extinguished.

According to their Twitter “tweets” – apparently the method now used by PF&R to officially release information to media – crews determined the fire to be extinguished at 6:48 a.m., and firefighters began the overhaul process of pulling out burnt materials, and searching for any remaining live embers.

The Bureau’s final tweet was that the PF&R’s Arson Squad fire investigators had “determined that unattended coals from a BBQ was cause” [sic].

Fire damage restoration crews begin boarding up and covering the roof of the affected four-plex unit.

Disaster responders with the American Red Cross, Cascades Region, came and provided immediate basic needs to those affected – such as temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits, information about recovery services, and health and mental health services. Four adults and four children were displaced by the fire.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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