Firefighter injured battling Kelly Butte house blaze

It wasn’t easy; see how his crew evacuated him for medical care …

Smoke and steam issues from this house on fire, located on a narrow road on the north edge of the Kelly Butte Natural Area.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For no discernable reason, there was a rash of serious house fires across the city on January 15, to keep Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews busy.

One of them was in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood of outer East Portland, at 1:36 p.m., when neighbors reported smoke surging from a single-story residence at 2856 SE 103rd Avenue.

Crews drag in water lines and begin to extinguish the blaze.

Southbound from SE Division Street, SE 103rd Avenue narrows, and makes a hair-pin turn as it heads up to the Kelly Butte Natural Area.

Mill Park Station Truck 7 pulled to a stop at a steep street just past the long driveway that led to the house – with Engine 7 immediately behind it – closely followed by Lents Station 11’s Engine crew. It wasn’t long before the Parkrose Station 2 “Quint” (combination Engine/Truck) also arrived.

On the roof of the burning home, Truck 7 firefighters cut holes in the roof, allowing hot gasses to escape.

While come crews searched the house for people or pets, others pulled water lines to the hydrant down the hill, to connect to Engine 7’s pump. Truck 7’s crew laddered up to the roof and cut holes to provide “vertical ventilation”, so hot combustible gases could escape.

Within minutes, the firefighters had confirmed that no one was inside, and had extinguished the fire, centered in the front room. But an emergency was discovered.

During the incident a group of firefighters gather just outside the house.

It soon becomes apparent that a firefighter has been injured.

What first appeared to be a routine house fire suddenly became more intense, as firefighters huddled near the front door, then gathered around an apparently injured person in the driveway.

“While fighting the fire a firefighter’s leg was lacerated by a large piece of broken glass,” later reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons. “The firefighter was transported to Emanuel with the non-life threatening injury.”

With help of his brother firefighters, the injured crew member is helped down the hill, to a waiting ambulance.

Remaining crewmembers worked to locate any hot spots, and pulled out charred material that could reignite the fire.

“No persons or pets were in the structure at the time of the fire,” Simmons told East Portland News. “The cause and damage estimates aren’t yet available.”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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