NEWS RELEASE 02/07/12: Portland Firefighters Respond to Fire at Solar-Powered Home at 2226 SE 55th Avenue
Shortly before 9:00 am, Portland firefighters were dispatched to reports of heavy black smoke coming from a house located at 2226 SE 55th Avenue. Firefighters from Portland Fire Station 25 (Woodstock) arrived first on scene in just three minutes with the ladder truck, followed by four fire engines.
Firefighters encountered fire in the first floor kitchen that had spread to the second floor and into the home’s attic. A second ladder truck was requested at the scene by the Incident Commander, which came from Portland Fire Station 7 (Mill Park).
This home had solar panels, which covered nearly one full side of the roof. Portland firefighters know to be aware of the potential for electrocution when they respond to fires at structures that have solar energy systems in place to ensure that they can safely operate around them with ladders, saws, and other firefighting equipment.
In this case, firefighters opened up the opposite side of the roof to vent the heat, smoke, and flames, allowing engine crews to battle the fire from inside the structure.
The fire was brought under control at 9:25 am. Firefighters determined that nobody was home at the time of the fire, and a dog which had been reported missing was safe with a relative.
Investigators have determined that the fire originated in the kitchen of this residence. A disruption to power service in the neighborhood was reported early this morning. While preparing breakfast, the occupant reported turning on a toaster oven, by means of a dial, before realizing there was no power. The occupant had already left for the day by the time power was restored to the neighborhood.
Investigators believe the restored power allowed the toaster oven to turn on as the dial remained in an "on" position and that the toaster oven was involved in the cause of this fire. At this time, they are unable to determine what actually ignited first. Damage to the home is estimated at $70,000.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds citizens that if the power goes out, be mindful that appliances may resume normal operation when power is restored. Citizens are also urged to maintain a safe distance between appliances and combustible items per manufacturer recommendations.