NEWS RELEASE 5/4/13: 6 Occupants Narrowly Escape House Fire With No Working Smoke Detectors in SE Portland
At 4:24am Portland Fire was dispatched to report of a residential fire at SE 27th and Gladstone. Reports received while responding indicated that there were 1-2 occupants still unaccounted for still inside the home. Firefighters had a high index of probability and were prepared for full rescue mode because of the occupants report and time of morning.
4 fire engines and a truck arrived almost simultaneously at 4:29am as the address of the fire sits right on the border of several fire station response areas, demonstrating the effectiveness of PF&R's fire station placement in keeping response times to a minimum.
Upon arrival, Engine 9 reported heavy smoke issuing from the right side of the home. A final report from a resident outside was that everyone was indeed out of the home.
Firefighters immediately went to work trying to locate the fire, which was in the basement. Compounding the effort were metal bars over the basement windows which can not only impede access, but also restrict egress for firefighters should a catastrophic event occur while working inside. While the 4 engine crews worked to secure a water supply and find the fire, a truck crew removed the bars and provided access to the basement entry that was under the back deck.
The fire was declared under control at 4:52am.
Fire Investigators have released the cause of the fire to be "improperly discarded smoking materials". An investigator also noted that there were no working smoke detectors in the home, and that the occupants escape as "extremely fortunate".
The damage is estimated to be a total loss to the structure. ($35,600)
(2) homeowners and (6) houseguests have been displaced and are receiving assistance from the Red Cross.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds its citizens that working smoke detectors do save lives. Install them and check them when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. It is also very important to discard of smoking materials such as cigarettes and cigars in metal receptacles, away from combustible materials.
Contact info, for media use only:
Firefighter / PIO Tommy Schroeder
Media Pager: (503) 940-6003