Fire chars Parkrose house, leaving family out in cold

Damage to this house is substantial – but see why officials say the family will likely survive the tragedy of being put out of their burned home …

Police keep NE Prescott Street closed, while crews finish putting out a house fire on NE 99th Avenue.

Story and a photo by David F. Ashton
Being located about midway between two Parkrose-area Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) fire stations, the burning house got a quick response when firefighters were dispatched to 4536 NE 99th Avenue, just north of NE Prescott Street, on February 22.

But, when the crew of PF&R Station 12 pulled up, two minutes after the call went out at 5:56 p.m., they found far more than just wisps of smoke coming from the second floor of the structure.

Emergency floodlights illuminate the back of the house, while a firefighter in the second story window probes for burning embers. Greg Muhr, PF&R photo

“The crew heard windows shattering, and saw flames coming from the back of the house,” PF&R Public Information Officer Paul Corah told East Portland News.

The Incident commander asked police to shut down NE Prescott Street, as truck and engine companies arrived on scene from PF&R Training Station 2.

“While one crew of firefighters laddered to the roof and cut holes to vent the heat and smoke,” Corah said, “Engine crews inside the home made an aggressive attack to knock down the blaze.”

Opening up the siding on the second floor, a firefighter finds more burning material. Greg Muhr, PF&R photo

But, the fire wasn’t easily extinguished, Corah added. “After they knocked down the body of fire, firefighters used pike poles to pull [down] the entire second floor ceiling and search for hidden fire. The fire was brought under control at 6:23 p.m.”
Although the family escaped the blaze, a mother and her three children – ages 7, 13, and 15 – watched, as the home they were renting was damaged beyond habitation.

After the body of the fire is extinguished, fire crews continue to probe for hotspots. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“We learned the family does have renter’s insurance,” Corah reported. “The American Red Cross was called to the scene to help the family find alternate housing.”

While fire investigators estimated the damage to the two-story home to be $80,000, they remain mum about the fire’s cause.

© 2012 David F Ashton ~ East Portland News

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