Early morning Wilkes-neighborhood house fire sets second home ablaze

See amazing photos of firefighters working to save a second house from being burned to the ground, as they fight the original fire to which they were called …

Portland Fire & Rescue crews find not one – but two – houses afire when they arrive at the early morning blaze.

Story by David F. Ashton; photos by Dick Harris, PF&R
A house fire, any time of day, is tragic. But, on the freezing-cold morning of February 8, a burning house ignited another, and chased two families out into the cold in the Wilkes neighborhood.

“Firefighters found a two-story home fully engulfed in flames when they arrived at 4:41 a.m.,” recounted Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Public Information Officer Paul Corah. “And, as firefighters approached to attack the fire, they discovered a second house – about six feet away from the first – also on fire in the 16300 block of NE Fargo Street.”

While some crews started to pull hose lines and attacking the blaze, firefighters set out to find an unaccounted-for boy and his dog from the burning home.

Cold? It appears as if some of the water runoff from the firefighting effort has already frozen on the ground.

“After completing a search of both homes, all occupants were subsequently located and determined to have evacuated safely from both homes,” Corah told us. “PF&R medics provided medical attention to one individual, an adult male, who was transported to a hospital with minor burns.”
Faced with fighting two fires, the Battalion Chief called in additional engines and trucks, firefighters, and a “rehab unit”, which brought additional air bottles for firefighters on scene.

The full extent of the damages have yet to be determined – but it looks as if one of the homes may be a total loss.

The origin of the fires, brought under control at 5:35 a.m., are still under investigation, and damage estimates have yet to be released. The first house sustained major fire damage, and may be a total loss. As a result of firefighters’ aggressive efforts to fight the fires, the house next door was saved, sustaining only moderate damage.

“Working smoke alarms save lives,” Corah reflected. “A fire can happen any time of the day or night, so always ensure that your home has working smoke alarms.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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