Powellhurst-Gilbert fire injures family of three

Here’s what’s been learned about an early morning outer East Portland duplex fire that turned into a 2-Alarm blaze …

Rigs from many fire stations are called to the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood to fight a fire in a duplex.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When fire broke out early on Sunday morning, December 1, in a duplex near SE 136th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were dispatched just after 4:00 a.m.

“The first arriving crews found heavy fire and smoke from a duplex, with fire threatening several other residences in close proximity,” a PF&R official reported.

The PF&R Incident Commanders soon called for a “Second Alarm” assignment – which doubles the numbers of firefighters, engines, and ladder trucks responding, out of fear that the blaze might touch off fires in other nearby homes.

More firefighters are called to the scene, responding to a “Second Alarm” callout.

Later that day, neighbor Gina Robbins told East Portland News she saw the son of the couple helping his mother out of the burning house, and said that his shirt was on fire as he did it.

“It looked like they got out just in time, because by the time he got his mom out of the house, fire seemed to explode out of the place,” Robbins said.

“The adult couple were both treated for minor smoke inhalation injuries, and their adult son had significant burns on his body – but all three refused to be taken to a hospital,” the Fire Bureau official acknowledged.

Damage to the charred residence is clear by morning’s light.

The fire was under control within an hour. But crews remained on scene for several hours more, performing cleanup and salvage work for the affected homes.  No other injuries were reported.

Fire investigators reported that smoke alarms “were a factor in the injuries”, but did not say if they had been operational at the time of the fire.

This image illustrates why investigators consider this unit to be a “total loss”.

The affected unit was declared a “total loss” by investigators; there was minor damage to the adjoining duplex unit, and to two homes in close proximity loss. The fire loss was estimated to be $250,000, and the cause has yet to be determined.

Remember, working smoke alarms do save lives; make sure yours are functioning!

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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