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Jun-25-2009 04:08printcomments

Portland Firefighters Battle 2 Alarm Fire in West Hills (PHOTOS)

Firefighters made an aggressive attack but because of the extent of the fire and questions about safety, they withdrew from the home for about 30 minutes dousing the fire from a safe distance.

Fire in Portland, Oregon's west hills, 6-24-09
Photos courtesy: Allen Oswalt/Portland Fire & Rescue

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to the report of a BBQ grill on fire and extending to the house Wednesday at about 1:00 p.m. The house is located at 13516 NW Glendoveer Drive. Lt. Allen Oswalt with Portland Fire & Rescue says firefighters encountered several challenges in bringing the fight to this fire.

"The response time, because of the location, was longer than usual giving the fire a huge advantage. The water supply had to be supplemented by laying fire hose approximately 1/2 mile down to the water main on Skyline Blvd. And the fire could only be attacked from the front of the home because of the vegetation and steep slope in the back."

Oswalt says when firefighters arrived, they reported heavy smoke and fire in the back of the home and the attic.

"Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire from inside the home and the roof. Because of the extent of the fire, the fire commanders began to question the safety of their firefighters because of the rapidly deteriorating structural stability of the home."

Firefighters withdrew from the home for about 30 minutes dousing the fire from a safe distance according to Oswalt.

"When they had control of the spread they again entered the home and completely extinguished the fire."

He says there were initial concerns of fire extending to Forest Park, but because of recent wet weather and excellent work by firefighters the fire was contained to the structure.

Fire Investigators have determined that the fire was accidental and caused by "Improper use of a gas appliance (grill)." Damage is set at $700,000 FOR THE CONTENTS AND $700,000 for the structure.

Firefighters remained on scene for several hours extinguishing hot spots. Oswalt says 64 firefighters responded to this fire with 8 Engines, 3 Trucks, 5 Chief Officers, 2 Fire Investigators, 3 Emergency Vehicles, Technicians and several support staff.

"Citizens are reminded to prevent a similar tragedy in your home to follow the directions for operating and lighting your BBQ grill whether it uses charcoal, wood or gas. Always double check to see that connections are tight and there are no leaks and that any thing that can burn is kept well away from the grill," Oswalt added.

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