Shortly before 7:39 pm, an individual came over and knocked on the door of Portland Fire Station 7 (Mill Park) and alerted firefighters that an apartment unit nearby was on fire. Firefighters immediately responded on the engine and ladder truck at 7:39 pm to 2016 SE 122nd Avenue, the El Moro Apartments.
Initial reports indicated that a man who was blind may be trapped inside one of the units. As firefighters arrived on scene, they saw smoke coming from the back of one of the single-story units and determined that all individuals had safely evacuated.
Firefighters immediately began attacking the fire from the interior. As they began to pull ceiling down, firefighters saw that fire was racing through a common attic. The fire was fueled by strong east winds and blowing through attic block holes. At 7:49 pm, the Incident Commander called for a 2nd alarm bringing additional resources, firefighters, and apparatus to the scene.
Firefighters on the ladder truck used cutting equipment to make a trench cut in the roof of the affected apartment units. This enabled engine crews to attack the fire from the interior while truck crews attacked the fire from the roof. The fire was brought under control at 8:15 pm.
An elderly woman was treated at the scene by Portland firefighter/paramedics for smoke inhalation, but did not necessitate transport to a hospital. A Tri-Met bus was brought in to shelter evacuees and keep them warm and the Red Cross is on scene assisting two residents find alternate housing tonight.
A Fire Investigator has determined that the fire was caused by careless smoking. This is the second fire that Portland Fire & Rescue has responded to today that was caused by careless smoking. Damage is estimated at $100,000.
Photos courtesy of Greg Muhr, Portland Fire.