March 18, 2014 14:24
At 2:03am this morning Portland Fire & Rescue Station 11 put their brand new (eight hours after delivery) fire engine through its paces when it was dispatched to report of a house fire at the 8700 block of Crystal Springs Blvd. Callers reported that there was smoke coming from the attic or roof area of their home.
Upon arrival Engine 11 reported lazy smoke coming from the eaves and vents. Interior conditions were just a light haze of smoke. After further investigation a large body of fire was found burning in the attic and in the wall behind the fireplace. Once discovered, the fire was extinguished quickly by fire-attack crews.
After the fire was under control a cursory investigation indicated that an aging fireplace was likely the cause of the fire. Fireplaces require regular maintenance to ensure that the mortar joints are sound and capable of retaining heat and fire gasses. (Continual exposure to heat, even if not ignition temperature can cause a chemical reaction in combustible materials called pyrolysis. This slow reaction which can take place over years can make the materials less stable and more susceptible to igniting.)
The mid-60's home had no working smoke detectors. Had the homeowner not been awake taking the dog for a walk this tragedy could have had a different ending. There were no injuries on this incident.
The local chapter of the Red Cross responded to assist (3) adults and (4) dogs.
A total of (4) engines, (2) trucks and (2) chief officers responded to this incident.