UPDATED INFORMATION WITH FIRE CAUSE & DAMAGE ESTIMATES
February 16, 2012
Video above courtesy of The Oregonian at www.oregonlive.com
Investigators determined that the early morning fire at 1307 NE 111th was accidental in nature and believe it was a result of household items that were too close to a fireplace. It appeared that the burning of construction materials and other debris had been a practice. A length of tree wood, too large for the firebox, was found sticking out of the fireplace. Investigators were unable to locate a smoke alarm while processing the scene.
The estimated value of the home and its contents was $150,000; fire investigators have determined that the home is nearly a complete loss.
Portland Fire & Rescue also has updated information that a firefighter sustained a minor burn injury while fighting the fire.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds citizens to:
- Maintain a combustible clearance around all appliances per manufacturer recommendations.
- Provide and maintain smoke alarms on every floor and every sleeping area of your home.
- Identify primary and secondary means of egress from each room of your home.
- Use proper types and size of fuels in fireplaces and other heating appliances per manufacturer recommendations.
February 16, 2012
At 5:03 am, Portland firefighters responded to reports of heavy fire coming from the back side of a house located at 1307 NE 111th. Firefighters from Portland Fire Station 30 (Gateway) arrived first on scene and began pulling hoselines to the fire. Neighbors came up to firefighters and reported that one individual lived in the home and they had not seen him come out. Firefighters launched an aggressive search for the individual right away.
While searching the home, firefighters encountered heat and zero visibility due to the smoke. They performed a systematic search of the rooms. Firefighters were hampered in their search by an excessive amount of contents in the home. Firefighters located a victim in his bed in one of the bedrooms. They took the victim to the floor ready to rescue him when some of the home's excessive contents fell on him. Firefighters had to uncover the man to find him and eventually evacuate. Firefighter/paramedics determined that the man in his 50's had died.
Firefighters also had a challenging time getting hose lines in to fight the fire which was active in the first and second floor walls of the home. Firefighters had to move contents away from the walls before they could attack the blaze. This is a serious safety hazard for firefighters. Additionally, the excessive fuel load caused the fire to burn longer and hotter. It took approximately 50 minutes to bring the fire under control. The house is severely damaged and fire investigators are on scene working to determine the fire's cause. The coroner's office was also called to the scene.
This is the second fire this week in Portland where excessive contents in the home have hampered firefighters’ ability to contain the blaze. Although it's uncomfortable to talk about, hoarding can indicate a mental health disorder - one that affects between 6 and 15 million Americans. 75U.S.cities have community task forces specifically designed to help address the issue.
Portland Fire & Rescue wants citizens to understand that hoarding is both a personal and public safety issue. If you or someone you know may have an issue with excessive accumulation of contents in your home, please check out the following tips and resources. The hoarding phenomena is both layered and complex. Recognizing there is a problem is the first step; the next is seeking effective treatment if simple anti-clutter strategies don't work.
Gerald Nestadt, MD offers the following six anti-clutter strategies:
- Make immediate decisions about mail and newspapers. Go through mail and newspapers on the day you receive them and throw away unwanted materials immediately. Don’t leave anything to be decided on later.
- Think twice about what you allow into your home. Wait a couple of days after seeing a new item before you buy it. And when you do purchase something new, discard another item you own to make room for it.
- Set aside 15 minutes a day to declutter. Start small–with a table, perhaps, or a chair–rather than tackling the entire, overwhelming house at once. If you start to feel anxious, take a break and do some deep-breathing or relaxation exercises.
- Dispose of anything you have not used in a year. That means old clothes, broken items, and craft projects you’ll never finish. Remind yourself that many items are easily replaceable if you need them later.
- Follow the OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. If you pick something up, make a decision then and there about it, and either put it where it belongs or discard it. Don’t fall into the trap of moving things from one pile to another, again and again.
- Ask for help if you can’t do it on your own. If you feel these strategies are impossible to carry out and you cannot cope with the problem on your own, seek out a mental health professional.
For additional information and resources for those with hoarding disorder and their families, please visit the International OCD Foundation’s website at http://www.ocfoundation.org/hoarding/.
A fact sheet on hoarding has been posted to Portland Fire & Rescue’s website at http://www.portlandonline.com/fire/blog.
Photographs by Dick Harris, PortlandFire & Rescue.
Portland Fire & Rescue