Extension cord blamed for Mill Park trailer fire

A person was badly burned in this outer East Portland fire. Heed the important safety message drawn from this incident from Portland Fire officials …

When firefighters arrived at this Mill Park travel trailer, used as a residence, it was fully engulfed in flames. PF&R image

By David F. Ashton

When a 20-foot travel trailer caught fire in the Stark Fir Mobile Home Park, on SE Stark Street just east of 108th Avenue at 1:14 a.m. on December 31, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews raced to the scene.

Crews riding PF&R Mill Park Station 7’s Engine and Ladder Truck were first to arrive, and reported back to dispatch that the trailer was engulfed in flames.

It only took minutes to put out the raging fire in this trailer, but the blaze almost killed the resident. PF&R image

“The crew had the fire under control within a few minutes after confirming that the one elderly occupant had made it out,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. “That person was transported to Emanuel Hospital Burn Center with life-threatening burns and inhalation injuries.

“Fire investigators have evaluated the charred remains of the travel trailer, taken statements from witnesses, and have concluded that the most likely cause of this fire was improper use of a low-grade extension cord,” Chatman announced.

Note the badly burnt and melted two prong (no ground wire) extension cord had been wrapped around an object; this is what investigators believe caused this fire. PF&R image

November through March is the “peak season” for residential electrical fires, noted Chatman. “The most serious injuries and fatalities happen at night,” he remarked, giving some fire safety tips:

  • Never use extension cords for extended periods of time.
  • Never use extension cords for heating appliances.
  • Only plug a single heating appliance into each socket
  • If you do need extra extension, use a power strip with a light and a switch
  • Check to see if your appliances carry a tag from Underwriters Laboratories or some other approved laboratory testing service
  • Keep all combustibles at least 3 feet away from your heating source


© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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