Teen badly hurt in Montavilla apartment blaze

Here’s what we learned about this 2-Alarm fire in the Montavilla neighborhood …

82nd Avenue of Roses is closed to protect water lines feeding firefighters’ engines on SE Main Street in outer East Portland, as crews put out an apartment fire.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When a fire breaks out in an apartment complex, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) dispatchers treat it as a “commercial fire”, to send more firefighters to the scene than would be dispatched to a single-family residence.

But, on January 8, an apartment fire call at 6:11 p.m. at 8130 SE Main Street quickly turned into something more serious – a “two-alarm” fire.

A fence along the west side of the apartment building makes it more difficult for firefighters to set up ladders to enter the second floor units.

Arriving moments after they were dispatched, the first PF&R units reported to dispatchers seeing fire burning in two apartments. Fire crews also asked for 82nd Avenue of Roses to be completely shut down – the only hydrant available was located on the east side of the street.

“Firefighters entered the apartments to search for trapped victims and to extinguish the fire,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons. “They found a teenage male, unconscious, in one of the apartments.”  The youth was immediately transported by ambulance for medical care.

Crews grab their Pike poles, shovels, and tools as they head back in to “overhaul” the burned areas – by pulling apart charred furniture and structural elements, to ensure the fire is completely out.

“Finding and caring for the victim created a need for additional personnel and was a trigger for fire commanders to call for the second alarm,” explained Simmons.

Fire crews knocked down the blaze within 30 minutes, and soon Portland Fire Investigators arrived to begin their analysis.

More crews respond to help put out this apartment building fire.

“The young man was transported to the Legacy Oregon Burn Center with life threatening injuries; his name and medical updates won’t be provided, due to his age, and to protect patient privacy,” Simmons said.

Days later, Simmons reported that Investigators were still working to determine the fire cause, including conducting follow-up interviews involving occupants and witnesses.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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