Candle-set blaze destroys Parkrose home

INCLUDES AFTERMATH VIDEO | Here’s what’s been learned about this outer East Portland fire; officials say it could have been deadly …

After knocking down the inferno inside this Parkrose rental house, firefighters momentarily stand down, before some go back inside to make sure no embers remain.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Several calls reporting a house fire, all coming in at the same time to the 9-1-1 Center, triggered Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters into action on Monday evening, September 18.

PF&R apparatus and command staff from several stations shortly afterward pulled in at a residence at 4705 NE 111th Avenue – at the corner of Wygant Street.

Watch the aftermath of this blaze, as the firefighters who quelled the flames made sure the fire in this house had been completely extinguished:

Shortly after being dispatched, Gateway Station #30’s Engine Company arrived first from their station at NE San Rafael Street and 133rd Avenue; followed a minute later by Engine Company 28 from the Rose City/Hollywood at 5540 NE Sandy Boulevard.

Their crews reported back to dispatchers seeing heavy fire and smoke showing from the house.

However, crews noticed house trailers parked close to the flaming structure; and quickly radioed that they’d need to make sure all occupants were out of both the house and the vehicles.

After that, the flames were quickly brought under control.

The fire now extinguished, some crew members return inside, looking for an hidden, remaining embers.

Another concern were the utility lines that had burned through at the house, and dropped to the ground. However, they were quickly identified as TV cable and telephone lines.

“The crews first took offensive action fighting this fire – that is, they went inside the burning structure as well as fighting it from outside, and heading up to the roof,” PF&R Public Information Officer Rick Graves later told East Portland News.

Before donning his protective “bunny suit” and going inside, this PF&R Fire Investigator takes a look at the interior through a blown-out window.

But, with the blaze engulfing the home the Incident Commander changed tactics.

“A transition was made, about eight minutes into it, to a ‘defensive’ strategy – taking firefighters out of the building and continuing to fight the fire from outside – while making sure the fire didn’t spread to other homes or vehicles nearby,” Graves said.

“The house is a total loss; and an older couple was removed from trailer parked next to the house which appears to have also been significantly damaged,” said Graves. “Sadly two dogs perished in the fire.”

Smoke swirls around a firefighter inside the burned out structure.

In total, seven persons were displaced by this fire.

“A PF&R Fire Investigator determined the cause of this fire was an unattended candle,” Graves remarked. “Although no one was killed in this incident, this does emphasize the ‘fire safety message’ that it’s critical to have working smoke detectors in all sleeping areas.” And also, avoid leaving candles burning unattended!

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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