Cause of afternoon fire under investigation

by: TUALATIN VALLEY FIRE & RESCUE - An early afternoon fire on Tuesday damaged this two-story duplex at 7795 SW Hillcrest Court. The seven occupants of the structure were displaced and are staying with family members.No one was injured in a fire that engulfed and damaged a two-story duplex at 7795 S.W. Hillcrest Court on Tuesday afternoon, displacing its seven occupants

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters were dispatched at 1:17 p.m. to a fire reported in a the duplex. Engine 53 from the Progress fire station arrived within five minutes to find fire in the attached garage, up the exterior wall of the structure and racing throughout the attic space above the two units.

Station 53 and subsequent arriving crews searched for occupants, battled the exterior fire, and opened up ceilings on the second floor of both units to access and extinguish fire in the attic space. Crews had the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes, but battled small pockets of active fire on the exterior and in the attic for more than an hour.

Occupants included an adult male and female, and child in one unit, and an adult male and female, and two children in the other unit, the duplex owner said. Occupants in the unit attached to the garage said they heard a noise in the garage and saw fire after opening the door. They exited their home and quickly warned the next door unit's occupant.

The occupants were displaced from their homes and are staying with friends and family.

With temperatures nearing 90 degrees on Tuesday afternoon, firefighters can be at risk of heat exhaustion, said TVF&R Public Information Officer Karen Eubanks.

"Firefighters wear heavy, fire-resistant, protective turnouts and equipment weighing in excess of 50 lbs. when battling a structure fire," she said. "This, combined with interior fire temperatures averaging near 1,000 degrees, can result in firefighters becoming dehydrated more quickly.

"It is not uncommon during times of hot temperatures, to bring in more resources on a structure fire in an effort to provide firefighters with a break to re-hydrate and cool down," she added.

The fire is under investigation. Both units in the duplex sustained heavy heat, smoke, and water damage to their entire second story, and water damage to their first story. Firefighters took precautions during the incident to protect the occupants' furniture and other belongings with tarps.

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