Powellhurst-Gilbert house fire blamed on ‘bad batteries’

Where do you do your battery recharging, or juice up your devices? This outer East Portland residential blaze presents a lesson for all of us …

This Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood home was substantially damaged, after it caught fire – possibly from defective batteries being charged.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On another summery morning in outer East Portland, a fire broke out on April 20 in the bedroom of a one-story home at 4406 SE 116th Avenue, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

Four Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R), three Engine Companies and one Ladder Truck Company of firefighters were dispatched at 11:07 a.m. that morning, with the first rig pulling up just three minutes after leaving its fire station.

A firefighter heads into the burned home, as other crew members work in the attic.

The crews riding PF&R Gilbert Station 28’s Engine reported seeing flames coming from a room facing the street.

Firefighters, hooking up water lines and making sure residents were out of the house, were aided by another Engine Company that had arrived a minute later.

It didn’t take long for crews to extinguish the blaze; but an hour later, firefighters were still putting out hot-spots in the attic above the bedroom where the fire is believed to have started.

Working in the attic, through holes cut by Ladder Truck crew members, a firefighter uses “Class-A Foam” to snuff out any remaining embers in the insulation and walls.

A neighbor told us that the house’s residents say that a rechargeable battery pack, or battery-powered device, was charging in the bedroom – and it had overcharged, or failed, and set the room afire. He confirmed that the residents had escaped safely.

Although we asked, PF&R has not responded to our request to corroborate this information.

So, here’s our own “fire safety message”: Consider carefully where, and how, you are recharging your batteries in your home! Make sure they are on a non-flammable surface, away from anything that can catch fire, should they burst into flames while being recharged.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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