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Fast-moving fire damages SE apartment complex

UPDATE • Child playing with 'open flame' may have caused the blaze
by: Courtesy of Portland Fire and Rescue An early morning fire damaged four dwellings at the Shalamar Apartments on Southeast Powell Boulevard. Four people and two cats were displaced by the blaze.

Portland firefighters said the two-alarm fire early Tuesday morning that damaged three Southeast Portland apartments may have been caused by a child playing with 'an open flame heat source.'

A 3-year-old child was overcome by smoke, but was treated at the scene by paramedics. Four people, including a 5-year-old boy, and two cats were displaced from their apartments. The Oregon Trail chapter of the American Red Cross is providing clothing and temporary housing for those forced from their homes.

The fire caused about $65,000 damage to the building.

Portland Fire and Rescue said the fire was reported at about 1:32 a.m. at the Shalamar Apartments, 13746 S.E. Powell Blvd. Firefighters encountered flames pouring from a ground-floor apartment that had spread to the second story and attic.

Because of the size of the fast-moving fire, a second alarm was called at about 1:45 a.m., bringing more firefighters and equipment to the scene.

'Apartment fires in the early morning hours are always of particular concern to firefighters because we know people are home and likely sleeping,' said Anthony Schaffer, Portland Fire and Rescue public information officer. 'Fortunately everyone escaped this fire safely.'

The fire was brought under control at 1:59 a.m. Firefighters are staying at the building to monitor for hot spots. Investigators are also trying to determine the cause of the fire and an estimate of the damages.