Portlanders act quickly to help a neighbor

Portland Fire and Rescue
Portland Fire and Rescue

April 18, 2022 11:20


At 9:00 pm yesterday crews were dispatched to a reported house fire near 174th and SE Washington St. Initial reports were that there was someone trapped inside. When Crews arrived they found a home with smoke showing at 17508 SE Washington St. There were no smoke detectors alarming when crews arrived. There was a resident out front that was able to give crews the information they needed to quickly find the victim. Gresham Fire’s Engine 74 went interior for a fire attack while working alongside PF&R’s Truck 7 who was doing an interior search for victims. The crews were able to quickly able to find the trapped resident and extricate them through a window at the side of the converted garage. 

The semi-conscious resident was loaded onto the gurney and AMR transported them to the Burn Center at Emanuel Hospital. The victim is in their early 40’s and is currently in critical condition. No other injuries have been reported at this point.

After the fire was out, we are able to gather some facts from the other resident and neighbors. It came to light that a couple of neighbors, Richard Hilficker and Najee Newman, helped partially extinguish the fire prior to crews arriving. These two brothers were barbequing across the street when they heard the neighbor screaming about the fire in the house. They quickly responded and Richard took a garden hose into the building to put the fire out. He did find the fire but the hose did little to extinguish this fire. Richard asked his brother, who was with him, to find an extinguisher. He did quickly, and they were able to partially extinguish it, these selfless acts undoubtedly gave the resident a chance for survival as the fire was held back long enough to allow fire crews to arrive.

Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/379129