Child plays with fire, lights up mattress

See why officials say the outcome of this Russell neighborhood house fire could have been much worse . . .

Portland Fire & Rescue Station 19 firefighters set up ladders, in case the basement fire spreads into the house above. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton
Crews from several Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) stations were called out to reports of a basement fire in a house across the street from Glendoveer Golf Course, in the evening hours of Friday, June 6.

The first PF&R crew on-scene found a mattress on fire in the basement at 13601 NE Halsey Street. “Crews began to pull the burning debris outside, before it could spread to the remainder of the house,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer Ron Rouse.

Inside the house, a firefighter pulls part of a burning mattress out toward the open garage door. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Soon, crews set out ventilation fans in doorways to clear the structure of smoke.

“This fire was determined to have been started by a child misusing fire,” Rouse said. “No one was injured during this incident.”

Teach your child about fire safety, Rouse went on to urge. “Many parents say ‘My child knows better!’ The simple fact is, most kids do not know better, because no one has taught them. Talk with kids to learn what they do know.”

Crews take the burning material out of the house. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

All fire-setting behavior is dangerous, Rouse added, but when a youth begins setting fires in response to their own stress or crisis, help is needed quickly. Kids may not realize why they are acting the way they are (asking them why they set a fire will likely result in “I don’t know”).

Need Help? – If you need help or have questions about this behavior, contact the Youth Fire-setting Intervention Program at Portland Fire & Rescue. You can reach a specialist at 503-823-3741.

Tragedy is averted this time, as crews extinguish the burning mattress remnants outside the home. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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