BBQ May Have Caused Challenging Fire In SW Portland Hills (Photo)

Portland Fire and Rescue
Portland Fire and Rescue

May 21, 2020 23:25


This morning at 1:17 a.m., SW Portland crews were alerted to a house fire in the 900 block of SW Rivington Dr. Before arriving to the scene, approaching fire crews noted seeing a column of fire and smoke on the SW Portland slope, in the area they were headed. Upon arrival, the crew quickly assessed multiple factors including narrow streets, sloped terrain, size of the home, and proximity of other homes as reasons to trigger a second alarm request.   The second alarm also provided an additional compliment of fire engines and ladder trucks that would be critical to accessing the fire that was enveloping the rear of the home and growing. The two adult occupants were startled to discover a large ball of fire at the rear of the home extending into the attic spaces. None of the smoke alarms were triggered to alert the occupants early on because the fire originated from a source outside the home; a combination of factors that often can be deadly this early in the morning. Fortunately, the two occupants were able to escape into a garage and eventually to a neighbor’s home for temporary shelter as the smoke level began to drop inside the house.

The size of the fire made it impossible for crews to go inside the home. Instead ladder trucks extended several feet above the roofline and showered water down to areas firefighters could not access with the steep slope. Ladder Truck 4, of the PSU district, can be seen in included photos with their ladder pipe deployed. Truck 4 is one of several companies praised by command staff for making key early decisons that prevented this fire from extending to adjacent structures.The threat to nearby homes was under control within the first hour but most crews were still engaged in firefighting efforts until 6:00 a.m. Meanwhile, some crews remained on-site throughout the day to cool hot spots. Fire Investigators at the scene determined that a gas BBQ located on the back deck was key to how this fire started. The homeowner explained that he may have left it on inadvertently and went to bed the night before. According to Fire Investigators, the area of the home that was damaged the most and initial reports of the fire’s location seemed to match the homeowner’s explanation regarding the BBQ.

“I can only imagine how difficult this must be for this family.” said Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone while surveying the damage early this morning. “I am thankful that everyone made it out safely and I’m proud of the work our crews did under difficult circumstances to keep this fire from spreading to nearby homes.”

Fire investigators believe the fire resulted in over $1,000,000 in damage.



Portland Fire & Rescue would like to remind residents that as we approach the warm summer months, we need to make sure our activities are being done safely. If you plan to use a gas BBQ please remember the following:

  • Place your grill away from combustible surfaces. This includes the exterior wall of your home, roof overhang and plants & vegetation.
  • Keep your grill clean. Check the grease trap before each use.
  • Never leave your BBQ on and unattended.
  • For more info NFPA grill safety link