Blaze damages Powellhurst-Gilbert Buddhist temple

Find out what caused the fire that left a smoke-filled building …

Wearing a respirator because of the smoke, a firefighter looks at the charred post at the Buddhist temple in outer East Portland. Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue image

By David F. Ashton
It was reported as a house fire, but when Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews rolled up to the scene, just after noon on March 2, they found it was the Tinh Xa Ngoc Chau Buddhist temple’s back porch that was ablaze.

Firefighters riding Engine 29, from the Powellhurst Fire Station, reported seeing flames licking up from the covered back porch of the temple, located at 4320 S.E. 136th Avenue, near SE Holgate Boulevard.

After cutting a hole in the roof for vertical ventilation, a firefighter walks back to Truck 25, using the ladder as a walkway. Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue image

A firefighter chips away at the charred structure, opening up the structure to water spray. Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue image

“Fire crews extinguished the fire in the patio while simultaneously searching the smoke-filled building for occupants,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer AJ Schaffer. “One fire crew was placed on the roof to assist in the ventilation of the attic space.”

No injuries were reported on the fire, Schaffer said, although one woman was treated for smoke inhalation on-scene. “She was not transported to the hospital.”

With smoke still filling the interior of the temple, firefighters check the ceiling to make sure the fire has been completely extinguished. Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue image

It took crews about a half hour to fully quench the blaze that caused $35,000 damage to the contents and structure.

“Investigators determined that a malfunctioning ignition switch on a propane stove caused this fire,” Schaffer revealed.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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