PF&R crews dealt with a double house fire in SW Portland caused by oily rags

Portland Fire and Rescue
Portland Fire and Rescue

April 14, 2014 17:10



At 2:15pm today PF&R crews were sent to 4430 SW Vesta Dr. where it was reported that several neighbors had called 911 reporting that two houses were on fire. When crews arrived they found one home with heavy fire and smoke extending to a nearby home. Crews had to quickly deploy exterior hose lines to contain the damage already done and prevent any further spread to additional surrounding homes. Once the large body of fire was knocked down from the outside crews could then begin an interior deployment of firefighters to attack the fire and support search and rescue efforts. No residents were in the home at the time of the fire. There were reports of pets inside but they were able to escape without injury. The fire was contained to the two homes; the first home sustained heavy damage and the second was partially damaged (no specific damage assessments have been made yet). The reports of explosions heard from original 911 callers is believed to be propane tanks. No electrical transformers were damaged as originally reported.
Fire investigators have sifted through evidence, testimony from residents and neighbors and have determined that the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion from oily rags left out on a wood deck.

Safety Message: It's estimated that spontaneous combustion caused from sources like oily rags cause over 14,000 house fires every year nationwide.
Realizing that we are coming into a season for outdoor projects like staining decks, PF&R would like to remind home owners that oily rags should be kept in well-covered metal cans and thoroughly dried before collection or transport. Never put oily rags in regular trash cans and never leave them out on combustible surfaces such as wood.