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Early morning fire damages Tigard home

Investigators say the fire was caused by combustible materials stored too close to a baseboard heater
by: Courtesy Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, TVF&R firefighter Lt. Jason Morgan removes smoldering material from the house that was damaged by fire early Monday morning in Tigard.

TIGARD - Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue investigators have determined that the cause of Monday morning's fire in Tigard was combustible materials stored too close to a baseboard heater.

The one-alarm fire at 13565 S.W. Ash Ave., was reported at 8:30 a.m., and TVF and R firefighters found heavy fire coming from the back corner of a small, one-story ranch home, according to Storm Smith, TVF and R community liaison.

'Firefighters attempted to enter both the front and rear doors but were blocked by debris and boxes apparently stacked there by the homeowner,' he said. 'Crews had to cut through overgrown bushes, bamboo, and ivy to gain access to the side the home being consumed by fire.

'After knocking down the bulk of the fire from outside, they used chainsaws to convert windows into doorways to gain access to the home's interior and extinguish the remainder of the flames. '

About 26 career and volunteer firefighters from TVF and R and the Lake Oswego Fire Department responded to the blaze and brought the initial flames under control in about 12 minutes.

They remained on the scene for more than 1¼ hours extinguishing any remaining hot spots in the house.

The homeowner, 56-year old Verne Adams, said he awoke to the sound of fire burning in his bedroom, according to Smith.

'He attempted to extinguish the flames with a blanket, but was unsuccessful,' he said. 'His smoke alarm activated while he was fighting the flames. He abandoned the effort, evacuated the house and called 9-1-1 from his cell phone. He was unhurt.'

Deputy Fire Marshal John Wolff said that fire investigators determined no other cause for the fire except for the stored materials.

'Most people don't realize that even if the thermostat on a home's baseboard heating system is turned to its minimum setting, it will still cycle on during cold temperatures unless the electrical circuit is shut off at the breaker box,' he said.

Temperatures dipped below the freezing mark Monday morning in many areas in Washington County.

TVF and R determined that the damage estimate for the fire may reach $70,000.