August 1, 2012
Station 21 responded to an alarm at the Ritzdorf Apartments (1225 SE Belmont) shortly after 6 pm and after checking the apartment in question quickly called for more resources. The fire attack crew could hear screaming coming from inside and could see smoke seeping from under the door. Station 1 (Downtown), Station 13 (Lloyd Center) and Engine 9 (Hawthorne) responded accordingly. After kicking in the door and doing a search of the residence firefighters rescued a cat (named "Dude"). No one else was home at the time of the incident.
Dude was taken outside and given oxygen. He was returned to his owner shortly thereafter in good condition. The resident had taken clothes from the dryer and placed them on the couch. There were oily rags on the couch as well thereby creating a "spontaneous combustion". The units were equipped with automatic sprinklers which contained the fire to the couch. Typically temperatures reach between 150 - 225 degrees Fahrenheit to activate the sprinkler heads. Station 1 stayed on scene to vacuum excess water and reset the sprinkler and alarm systems.
Red Cross was called to assist the tenant and the amount of damage is still be assessed.