Extreme Clutter Complicates Firefighting Efforts In SE PDX Townhouse

Portland Fire and Rescue
Portland Fire and Rescue

January 06, 2020 23:50


At 3:50pm PF&R crews were dispatched to a townhouse fire at SE 131st & Division. SE PDX Crews arrived to find a single townhouse with dark smoke showing from the windows and eves. They were able to search the home and extinguish the fire within 15min. This prevented fire spread to adjoining units which is a key threat at a time of day when firefighters expect many children to be home from school often times before parents. 

An issue that did complicate firefighting efforts though was the amount of clutter in hallways and stairwells. Within the first few seconds of entering the structure several firefighters reported extreme clutter in the home so that all responders would be aware of the dangers. This hazard makes it difficult for firefighters as they try to navigate the home to locate the fire or find victims but it is especially hazardous for them if/when they need to evacuate the home quickly. 

The one adult occupant was not at home and no other injuries were reported. Fire Investigators are still compiling witness testimony and evidence from the scene to determine a cause. 





Although no cause has been determined, Portland Fire Investigators did want to send a couple reminders to residents:

-Never disable smoke alarms. Smoke alarms save lives and property!

-Smoke alarms alert everyone in the area of a developing fire; with them many fires can stopped before they become a real problem.  


-Clutter can be a serious safety hazard. At minimum please keep all hallways, walkways and emergency exits clear. This is for your safety and the safety of firefighters responding to your emergency!