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Dec-22-2009 11:32printcomments

House Fire in Oregon City Goes Unnoticed Until Engulfed in Flames

Firefighters suggest always remembering to leave a phone number with neighbors or relatives whenever you are going to be out of your home for an extended period of time.

12-22-09 at 10816 S. Buetel Road in Oregon City
at 10816 S. Buetel Road in Oregon City
Photos courtesy: Steve McAdoo Clackamas Fire

(OREGON CITY) - Clackamas Fire crews responded to a house fire this morning at 5:44 a.m. The home is located at 10816 S. Buetel Road in Oregon City. Neighbors initiated the call to 911 stating that their neighbor's house was engulfed in flames.

Steve McAdoo with Clackamas Fire, says the first crew to arrive on scene was giving the initial size-up of the fire over the radio, and the fire could be heard crackling in the background.

"The home had flames coming from all doors, windows and the roof when the first crew arrived. As more crews arrived on scene, hose lines were put in place and water began flowing into this large two-story home."

The fire had gone unnoticed for so long, according to McAdoo, that crews could not go inside to fight the fire; they had take a defensive stand and "drown" the fire from the outside.

"During the initial attack, one side of the home collapsed, which prompted an emergency alert message from the Battalion Chief to assure that all crews were safe. All crews were safe and accounted for."

He says firefighters fought the fire for 50 minutes before it was officially deemed under control. There were no firefighter injuries and the homeowner was away on vacation during the fire.

House Fire in Oregon City 12-22-09. Photos: Steve McAdoo/Clackamas Fire

"The homeowner was able to be reached by phone and confirmed that no one was home at the time of the fire. Crews were able to protect the detached garage and all of its contents from catching fire due to aggressive firefighting tactics," McAdoo said.

"It appeared that the home had recently been fully remodeled, so this is obviously a great loss to the owner." There were 9 fire units from Clackamas Fire on scene, and 1 unit from Canby fire that assisted efforts. There was one Clackamas Fire water tender that was called to the scene initially due to a weak-flowing hydrant.

McAdoo says the tender was canceled after crews were able to get just enough pressure out of the hydrant to make a safe extinguishment of this large fire.

"Crews will be on scene for several hours monitoring the debris pile. Investigators will begin working on a cause as soon as the pile cools down. It's very challenging for investigators to determine a cause when the entire structure has burned down as this home did."

He suggests always remembering to leave a phone number with neighbors or relatives whenever you are going to be out of your home for an extended period of time. This allows police or fire agencies to contact you in case of an emergency such as this.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.