Neglected candle blamed for torching shed, house

Neighbors say they have their suspicions about why someone was burning candles in this Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood shed …

Firefighters focus on a fire burning in a shed, which was also catching the nearby house on fire. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton

When smoke and flames were reported coming from behind a rental house in the 2600 block of SE 133rd Avenue, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews made their way quickly to the area, at about 10:30 a.m. on August 30.

The outer East Portland house, about a block south of SE Division Street, is set back from the street, but firefighters reported seeing smoke and flames from the rear of the structure.

Firefighters quickly douse the flames in both the shed and the house. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“Fire crews found a shed, part of a large tree, and the back of the house on fire,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Tyler.

As is their procedure, firefighters divided duties; some started pulling hose lines and attacking the fire, while others made sure that everyone had gotten out of the house.

Crews continue to spray down the interior of the shed, to extinguish any remaining embers. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“The fire was stopped from getting into the attic,” Tyler said. “But part of the back of the house and the entire shed was damaged. The fire was under control by 10:42 a.m.”

A neighbor, watching the firefighters at work, said she believed that transients “camped” in the back yard from time to time, and perhaps the shed. “Maybe they’re just friends of the main renter,” she said.

“The cause of the fire was deemed to be an unattended candle in the shed,” Tyler later reported. “No one was injured during this fire.”

Working on the roof, cutting away charred sections of the eaves, firefighters make sure the fire on the back of the house is completely extinguished. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

The extent of the damage loss is still to be determined. “There is something to be learned from the fire,” Tyler noted, “don’t leave candles unattended. Always blow them out before you go out.”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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