Whizzing bullets startle firefighting crews

They’d have startled you too. Find out why firefighters ducked for cover, as they battled a fire in the Centennial neighborhood …

Firefighters dodge flying bullets, as they fight an early-morning house fire in the Centennial neighborhood. Dick Harris, PF&R image

By David F. Ashton
It sounded like they were working in a war zone, some Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crew members muttered, while responding to a house fire, just after 1:00 a.m. on March 6.

Explosions and the “zing” of flying bullets and ricochets made firefighters duck for cover, as they arrived at the 15908 SE Alder Street structure they found fully engulfed in flames.

Smoke fills the street, as firefighters attack an unusual house fire. Dick Harris, PF&R image

The fire crews were also surprised to see Portland Police Bureau East Precinct district patrol and command staff vehicles already parked near the scene.

“Police were first called to respond to what they said was ‘an unknown disturbance’ at the house,” explained PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. “They called for a Fire Bureau response, when they saw smoke from the residence.”

After pouring water on the fire from outside the structure, fire crews begin to search for hidden flames inside. Dick Harris, PF&R image

Firefighters first shot water into the blazing house from outside, due to the size of fire and intensity of the heat. High mid-County winds forced air into the structure, fanning the rapid spread of fire throughout the home, Chatman said.

“Once firefighters were able to knock down the fire, they were able to send crews inside the house to search for victims, and eventually completely extinguish the fire.”

Later that day, the fire-ravaged house was boarded up. Neighbors speculate it will be a total loss. David F. Ashton East Portland News image

The Fire Investigator has not yet released the cause of the fire, or given a damage estimate amount. There has been no official explanation for all the ammunition in the house, detonated by the flames.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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