Neighbors’ questions linger about Lents house fire

With no official information given about this blaze, residents in an outer East Portland neighborhood are left with many questions about it …

Crews of this Portland Fire & Rescue engine and ladder truck are at work, putting out an attic fire in this one-story Lents neighborhood residence.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

“I saw smoke – lots of smoke – coming from the house, so I called 9-1-1 to report it; but we’re concerned about the people living inside,” brooded Lents neighbor Nancy Nickerson to East Portland News, as she watched firefighters at work on the metal-roofed house at 4401 SE 99th Avenue, on the late Wednesday afternoon of April 22.

The considerable smoke arising from around the eaves and through the peeled back roof of the rental house, on a very short block between SE Holgate Boulevard and Cora Street, brought more fire crews to extinguish what looked to be a rapidly-spreading, in-attic fire.

After pulling down ceilings inside this structure, firefighters scramble over the metal roof.

Dispatched at 4:57 p.m. that afternoon, both the Rescue and Engine crews from Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Lents Station 11 were first to arrive, just two minutes after the call.

They were soon joined by PF&R Mill Park Station’s Ladder Truck #7 crew. While some firefighters began setting up the engine to pump water, others made two searches of the residence, making sure no one was left inside.

Having to peel back the metal roofing didn’t seem to slow the fire crews, thanks to their powerful “can opener” cutting tools.

Fire apparatus soon clogged SE Holgate Boulevard, as crews from additional stations arrived, parked their rigs, grabbed their gear, and ran to the fire scene.

At 5:15 p.m., an anonymous PF&R spokesperson revealed, via social media, “crews are chasing an attic fire in a one-story home,” and confirmed, “no one is inside.”

AMR paramedics evaluate a person whom neighbors say they think was somehow involved in the fire.

In addition to firefighter/paramedics tending to at least one person involved with the fire, an AMR ambulance pulled up and its paramedics joined in evaluating an elderly male.

Neighbors’ questions about how extensive this fire was, whether there were any injuries from this incident, if the metal roofing made it harder for crews to access the fire in the attic, and why not one, but two, PF&R Fire Investigators were later  called to the scene, have yet to be answered.

PF&R Fire Investigators meet up with the supervising Battalion Chief, before starting their exploration of the still-smoking home.

We’ll update this story if (or when) we learn more about the incident.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

 

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