Back-to-back fires wreak havoc in Lake Oswego

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO A Lake Oswego firefighter looks over the damage done by a fire at a residence on SW 63rd Place. The blaze from a cooking fire swept through the home so quickly that it caused a total loss and an estimated $175,000 in damage.

Two fires, one late on Monday night and the other early on Tuesday morning, caused major damage to two homes in Lake Oswego.

The first blaze occurred at 5708 Suncreek Drive at 10:13 p.m. on Monday and caused an estimated $140,000 in damage.

Firefighters had barely finished putting out the first fire, when the second blaze broke out at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday at 13463 S.W. 63rd Place. The house is considered a total loss, with damages estimated at $175,000.

'Having two fires in a day is not rare, but it is rare to have two major structural fires in Lake Oswego,' said Gert Zoutendijk, deputy fire marshal for Lake Oswego.

At the Suncreek Drive fire, neighbors called 9-1-1 when they saw flames shooting out of the house, with heavy fire coming from the back bedroom.

Nineteen firefighters, along with four chiefs and an investigator, arrived at the scene to knock down the flames from outside. On a happy note, the crews found the family dog alive and unhurt inside the house.

Zoutendijk said the preliminary assessment is that faulty electrical wiring caused the the fire.

Soon the very same group of firefighters was speeding toward 63rd Place. The fire broke out when a 34-year-old man was cooking and noticed flames from underneath the burner. He attempted to extinguish the fire with baking soda, but the flames grew too large. The man then woke up his mother and they evacuated the house.

When firefighters arrived, flames had engulfed the entire first floor of the house. The fire was quickly extinguished by Lake Oswego crews, who were helped by fire departments from Portland and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.

Zoutendijk said, 'Our resources were not strained because the first fire ended in time for us to get back in time for the second one. It did make for a long night.'