Two-alarm house fire proves hard to extinguish

Find out why fire crews had to make a second visit to this Powellhurst-Gilbert rental house, in the same morning …

Illuminated by fire rig emergency lights, firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at this outer East Portland house. PF&R photo

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

None of those staying in, or near, a bank-owned house at 2826 SE 87th Avenue were injured when flames broke out there at 6:20 a.m. on March 13.

When Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters arrived, they found a large amount fire that was burning outside and inside the two and half story house.

The Battalion Chief soon called for a “Second Alarm” to bring more resources to the incident, because of the size of the house, and because the blaze looked to extend to a neighboring residence.

Fire crews keep water pumping through water lines from Engine 11.

“An individual in the home became aware of the fire, and helped get two more people out,” said PF&R spokesperson Jesse Altig.

“Firefighters entered the home to extinguish the fire and make sure everyone was out safely, while other crews attacked the fire outside the house,” Altig added. “The fire had spread to the upper floors and the roof of the house was deemed unsafe for firefighters to perform ventilation operations,” he remarked.

An adult male, inside a trailer in the back of the home, made it out safely, and was evaluated for smoke inhalation and treated by firefighters.

This firefighter heads back to join others who continue to extinguish this smoldering fire.

“I woke up to a large orange glow and knew I needed to get out,” the man told firefighters.

By midmorning, fire crews had wrapped up the operation and headed back to their respective stations.

But at noon, firefighters were recalled to the property for a “smoke investigation inside a structure”, bringing the crew of Lents Station Engine 11 and Woodstock Station Truck 25 back to the smoldering house.

Debris and discarded material around this bank-owned house made it difficult for firefighters to fully put out the fire.

According to Altig, PF&R Arson Squad investigators determined the original fire had accidently started in a lower-level laundry room, and they estimated the initial damage to the home was $100,000.

American Red Cross Cascades Region volunteers responded to the fire to address the immediate basic needs of the four adults affected in this incident.

Public records show this property is owned by HSBC Bank, in care of Quality Loan Service Corporation of San Diego, has been the subject of Nuisance Complaints since 2014. The most recent, a “Nuisance Residential Rental Complaint”, was updated on February 28 for “No garbage service”.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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