Pre-Christmas blaze scorches Parkrose home

Here’s how firefighters extinguished a roaring garage fire – as they were threatened by sagging power lines …

Firefighters make their way through smoke, while dodging an electrified power line, to pull water lines up to this house fire. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

By David F. Ashton
At 8:20 a.m. on the morning of December 23, emergency dispatchers sent both Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews and ambulances to 5114 NE 109th Avenue in Parkrose on the report of a fire in a garage, already extending into a house.

“The 9-1-1 call came from the resident, who had gone back into the smoke-filled house to search for her dogs,” reported PF&R spokesman Tommy Schroeder. “The two occupants were outside when fire crews arrived and were evaluated for smoke inhalation; but they were not transported to a hospital.”

As smoke seeps from the front eves, firefighters enter the residence through the front door, avoiding the “hot” power lines hanging near the garage. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

PF&R Parkrose Station 2 Engine and Truck companies were the first to arrive, and reported smoke and flames coming from the back of the house.

As firefighters searched the house for any victims, and the residents’ dogs, other crewmembers pulled in water lines and prepared to battle the blaze.

“Complicating this incident were overhead electrical lines that were down over the top of cars in the driveway,” Schroeder said. “In addition to the power line hazard, water pipes were energized by the downed power lines, making it difficult to shut off the municipal water supply to the home.”

With the fire knocked down, firefighters exit the home. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

PF&R Investigators have not announced the cause of the fire – but, according to the residents, the fire originated in the garage.

“One person heard a noise in the garage and opened the door from the house to the garage and encountered heavy fire and thick black smoke that had banked all the way down to the floor,” said Schroeder.

“Introducing fresh air to the garage [that way] accelerated the fire. It is important to remember that closing any doors between a fire and occupied space can reduce a fire’s growth, limit damages, and allow for more time to escape or be rescued.

On a positive note, firefighters did find the residents’ dogs, all of which appeared to be in good condition after being resuscitated using donated specialized pet rescue equipment from a local veterinary clinic. Dick Harris, PF&R Photo

“The fire was knocked down within ten minutes,” said Battalion Chief Rich Stenhouse. “The quick initial response contributed to the overall successful outcome of this incident.”

PF&R Investigations estimates the damages at around $50,000.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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