At 3:20 am Portland Firefighters responded to a fire at the Sellwood Inn Pub located at 8301 SE 17th. When Portland Fire Station 20 (Sellwood) arrived, firefighters encountered a fast moving fire coming from the back of the building.
The commercial structure included a business on the first floor and living units on the second floor. Most of the fire was concentrated on the second floor sun deck areas. While one fire crew was attacking the fire, another fire crew conducted a search of the two apartments located on the second floor.
With heavy smoke increasing, firefighters forced open one of the apartment doors and conducted a systematic search of the unit. During the search, firefighters found a man in his late 30’s sleeping in his bed. The man, who was deaf and completely unaware of the fire, was assisted by firefighters out of the building where he was assessed by Portland firefighter/paramedics on scene for possible smoke inhalation.
"This morning's rescue illustrates why we aggressively search every room when we have a fire. In cases like this, we don’t know who has been alerted to a fire and evacuated or who may be left inside," said Portland Fire Battalion Chief Dan Buckner.
Although the apartment was not equipped with one, specially designed smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing are available that emit a high intensity strobe light to alert occupants that smoke is in the room. Additional fire safety information for people with disabilities is available through the Oregon State Fire Marshal at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/CommEd_FS_D.shtml.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire started in a plastic bucket where smoking materials were improperly discarded. Damage is estimated at $25,000.
"Since smoking laws have changed, we see more people smoking outside," said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah. "We encourage smokers to safely discard of smoking materials in a proper container such as a metal bucket with water or sand inside."