Fire at Centennial home blamed on faulty wiring

See why local firefighters were exhausted after the New Year’s weekend – it certainly wasn’t from partying …

This Portland Fire & Rescue crew that rides Truck 7 is about to open an attic in which a fire is raging. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

By David F. Ashton
With Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews responding to a fire at 6:49 a.m. near Lloyd Center, and another blaze at 6:56 a.m. near Alberta Park, outer East Portland crews rolled out to fight a third house fire in the Centennial neighborhood at 15529 SE Harrison Street on the morning of January 2.

According to PF&R spokesman Gabriel Watson, when the son-in-law of the home’s owner arrived to perform maintenance work on the home, he saw smoke under pressure surging from roof vent, and heard crackling sounds.

“He did the right thing,” Watson said; “He immediately called 911.”

An engine from PF&R’s Rockwood Station 31 was first to arrive and confirmed a working structure fire, Watson stated. “Firefighters entered on the first floor of the building to find the entire ground level clear of smoke and fire; without hesitation, firefighters searched the structure, and fire- attack crews located and made entrance into the attic, which was engulfed in flames.”

Concurrently, crews from Hazelwood’s Truck 7, equipped with both chain and circular saws, were sent to the roof to cut holes. “This is a firefighting tactic called ‘vertical ventilation’ – it allows heat and smoke to escape the enclosed area, and dramatically improves conditions for firefighters operating inside,” Watson explained.

Firefighters dump “overhaul” – burned and charred material that might still contain glowing embers – after removing it from the Centennial home’s attic. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

The fire was brought under control (“recalled”) at 9:59 a.m., and crews remained on scene working until 10:37 a.m. “Damages were estimated at $8,650. Electrical wiring was determined to be at fault in this fire,” Watson said.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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