Two days, two house fires

See why officials say one of these fires could have certainly been prevented …

Portland Fire & Rescue crews arrive at a Mill Park neighborhood home to find the garage ablaze.

By David F. Ashton; photos by Dick Harris-Portland Fire & Rescue

Residents escape injury during evening garage fire

When Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were called to a house three blocks south of Market Street, along SE 100th Avenue at Harrison Street, during the dinner hour on November 6 – it definitely wasn’t a false alarm.

“A neighbor called in the fire at 5:31 p.m.,” reported PF&R Public Information Office Lt. Rich Chatman. “That neighbor reported that all three occupants of the home had made it out safely.”

Firefighters climb around a garage full of things while they put out this house fire.

When the first rigs rolled up to the outer East Portland house in the Mill Park neighborhood, they found the home’s garage burning.

While some crewmembers pulled hose lines, others conducted a complete search of the smoke-filled structure, confirming that the occupants and pets had escaped the fire.

“An adult female was transported to a nearby hospital to be evaluated for medical symptoms,” Chatman said. “It’s unknown if these symptoms were related to smoke inhalation.”

Crews make sure the fire doesn’t spread to the house.

No other injuries to occupants, pets, or firefighters were reported. “Housing was arranged for the other adult female occupant and one male child by the American Red Cross, which responded to the scene,” Chatman added.

PF&R Fire Investigators arrived as the firefighters were wrapping up; their report regarding cause and damage estimates are pending.

Alert neighbors credited for saving home
from careless smoker fire

After firefighters pried open the front door’s security gate, smoke bellowed out as they made their initial entry.

On November 7, alert neighbors called 9-1-1 Dispatch at about 1:00 p.m., saying they’d seen a “wisp of smoke” coming from a neighbor’s Mill Park home.

Crews climbed into their rigs at PF&R Station 7 in Mill Park at 1:00 p.m., and zigzagged their way west on SE Market Street, north on 117th Avenue, west on Salmon street, and north into end of the cul-de-sac at SE 114th Place. Other engine companies followed closely behind in the lights-and-siren procession.

“Firefighters found smoke coming from the one-story home,” confirmed Chatman. “Crews made entry into the structure and extinguished a ‘single room’ fire, before it extended to the rest of the home.”

Crews check the roof for signs that the fire has spread to the attic – with a chainsaw at the ready, if needed to open it up.

The amount of fire damage could have been much worse, commented PF&R Lt. David Barron who was on the first arriving engine company. “Apparently, this is a close community, and the neighbors look out for each other. That made the difference in the amount of damage.”

Crews remove a still-smoking mattress from the home. It had been ignited by an misplaced cigarette.

Fire investigators were at the scene, Chatman later said, and identified the cause of the fire to be “improperly discarded smoking material”.

No injuries to occupants, firefighters, or pets were reported.

Chatman reminded, “Most smoking-related fire deaths occur in living rooms, family rooms, and dens – or in bedrooms. Be safe with smoking materials. Consider smoking outdoors.”

Thanks again to Dick Harris for these outstanding photos!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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