Explosions precede house-charring garage fire

The fire was so intense, part of the structure collapsed. But, firefighters saved two pets …

This intense outer East Portland house fire, here in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, brought out many crews to fight the intense blaze.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The sound of “gunshot-type explosions” nearby woke up neighbor Jazmine Thompson at 9:30 a.m. on February 15, she later told reporters. She also said she heard glass breaking.

Meantime, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were responding to a report of fire, and headed south of SE Foster Road, down narrow, residential 128th Avenue, to where it dead-ends near 12806 SE Claybourne Street.

A woman in the house, who asked not to be identified, said she’d called the 9-1-1 center before safely getting out, but was concerned about two dogs still trapped inside.

With the body of the fire extinguished, crews stand by outside the garage, as it begins to collapse.

First on scene was PF&R Lents Station Engine 11; the crew reported back to dispatch having seen heavy dark smoke as they approached the house, and upon arrival began to pull water lines and search the burning home.

Both the engine and truck companies of PF&R Mill Park Station 7 arrived moments later to make a secondary search of the house for potential victims, and rescued those two dogs from what had become an inferno.

The charred balcony adjacent to a room above the burned-out garage indicates the intensity of the blaze.

Using their specialized power tools, crews cut open the garage door, and began spraying water inside to quench the flames. Soon, firefighters riding six additional rigs – including new recruits from PF&R Training Station 2 in Parkrose – pulled up to the scene.

“Firefighters reported several small explosions, likely from aerosol cans or other smaller pressurized canisters,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer Capt. Louisa Jones.

It took about a half hour to knock down the fire, but crews remained carefully working around the tottering structure, putting out hot spots for another 30 minutes.

A PF&R investigator arrives, preparing to explore the cause of the fire.

“The garage did collapse partway through the incident as well, but firefighters were not inside it at that time,” Jones told East Portland News, adding, “the fire was contained to the garage, which is a total loss.”

A car and several motorcycles were in the garage, and were a total loss in this fire. The cause has not yet been released by investigators, Jones said.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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