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Early morning fire destroys Happy Valley home

Family makes it out safely; cause was improperly extinguished cigarette

UPDATE: Fire investigators reported Saturday afternoon that the cause of this fire was accidental and due to "the improper extinguishment of a cigarette."

A Happy Valley family of four escaped their burning home with little time to spare early Saturday morning. No injuries were reported.

It took Clackamas and Portland firefighters about 45 minutes to finally extinguish the blaze, which destroyed the home on Southeast 96th Avenue near Idelman Road.

Fire officials said a neighbor called in the alarm at about 4:30 a.m. Aug. 6 after noticing flames coming out the back of the house next door. When the first engine arrived, the home was almost engulfed in flames, officials said.

Because it's too dangerous to enter a structure in such cases, officials used large-diameter hoses to extinguish the fire from the outside. No injuries were reported, officials said, adding that the occupants were lucky to escape when they did.

The family renting the home told officials they didn't think there were any working smoke alarms in the house. Fire officials noted that having working smoke alarms in a rental when people move in is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Officials said fire investigators would remain on the scene Saturday to determine the cause of the quickly moving fire. The Oregon Trail chapter of the American Red Cross and other emergency services groups were available to help the family with housing and other needs.