Fire devastates new manufactured home in Lents; July 4th BBQ blaze chars Montavilla triplex

It’s likely that no one will be moving into this new outer East Portland house anytime soon, after this wind-whipped blaze ripped through it. And, see the damaged caused by a toppled BBQ grill on Independence Day …

After a fire starts at a new home in the Lents neighborhood, Portland Fire & Rescue crews quickly move in and set up to fight it.

By David F. Ashton

Two fires, within two days, have left four outer East Portland housing units inhabitable. Here’s what we’ve learned about these two incidents:

July 2
New Lents house burns – before it’s occupied

Lents neighbors said they were caught off guard when a brand new manufactured house went up in flames on July 2nd at 5480 SE 97th Avenue, just one house north of Harold Street.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) was first alerted to the fire by a Portland Street Response agent who reported seeing smoke and fire – triggering a dispatch at 11:29 a.m., on Tuesday morning.

As PF&R Mill Park Station 7’s Ladder Company ascends to the roof – and cuts it open to reach fire in the attic – the smoke pouring out increases. PF&R image

Engine Company 11 arrived within one minute, and reported back to dispatchers seeing a “wind-impacted attic fire, with heavy black smoke pushing off the structure.”

Next to pull up was Powellhurst Station 29’s Engine Company, followed by additional crews from four other stations – they were assigned to hook up water lines to supply Engine 11, already pumping water to the firefighters.

Others arriving searched the 1,126 sq ft manufactured home, placed there in May, and competed at the end of June – only days before this fire destroyed it.

It doesn’t take long for flames to erupt through the roof. PF&R image

As some firefighters attacked the fire externally and internally, other crew members took another water line around to protect the house next door from catching fire too.

Inside the burn house, crews pulled ceiling down near the front of the residence. Soon the Battalion Chief radioed concerns about the strength of the roof; and the area near the apex of the roof began to fail. At that point firefighters pulled back.

Firefighters begin to stand down as the fire is eventually put out.

As crews got the fire under control, PF&R Fire Investigators arrived at the scene. So far, the cause of this destructive blaze has yet to be revealed. But there were no reported injuries.

July 4
Toppled BBQ grill sets Montavilla triplex on fire

Water supply lines to engines supply firefighters to what was dispatched as a second-alarm blaze in Montavilla, just west of NE 82nd Avenue of Roses. PF&R image

Just as a third-alarm alarm pallet fire was ending in north Portland, on the Fourth of July, a residential fire broke out at 8108 NE Oregon Street in Montavilla. Dispatched at 9:14 p.m., firefighters from all over the area came fight the fire in this triplex, with eight residents living the units.

Arriving crews learned that all occupants had been able to get outside safely.

A tongue of fire is seen flickering from an attic vent, as crews fight the blaze. PF&R image

However they observed fire erupting from the attic space, and from the exterior of the building. Fire was obviously running through what appeared to be an open attic space not equipped with any “fire blocks” to slow the blaze.

Just as the PF&R Battalion Chief called for a second-alarm, reports came back that interior searches of the three units showed no evidence of fire activity inside. The crews on-scene quickly knocked down the flames in the attic space above the living quarters, and all second-assignment companies were released, many of them before arriving.

Here’s where the toppled grill lit this triplex set this triplex ablaze. PF&R image

The cause of this triplex residential fire turned out to be a barbecue grill that fell over and set fire to the siding of the structure. The flames then an up the wall and into the attic spaces.

All residents were displaced; the American Red Cross Cascades Division are helping with their relocation. No injuries were reported.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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