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Westmoreland apartment fire causes fatality

by: Eric Norberg A fire in this second-floor apartment, on the west side of Westmoreland Union Manor on April 2nd, sent its occupant to the hospital, but caused little damage to the rest of the large apartment complex. After the fire was extinguished and the resident was taken to Emanuel Hospital, firefighters ventilated the apartment with fans and swept the accumulated water from the sprinklers in the apartment off the balcony.

A fire alarm sounded at Westmoreland Union Manor, the seven-story nonprofit apartment complex for seniors facing S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, at 5:50 pm on Saturday afternoon, April 2nd.

Not surprisingly, the first fire company to respond came from Westmoreland's Station 20, located just two hundred yards to the south. When firefighters arrived they found an apartment on the second floor, just over the main entrance to the building, filled with smoke - and upgraded the call to that of a 'commercial fire', which brought more resources to the scene.

When firefighters made entry into the apartment, they found an adult female with 'significant fire-related injuries'. She was transported to Emanuel Hospital, but subsequently succumbed to her injuries. Her name is not being released at the specific request of the family.

An employee of the facility was also affected by the smoke when he tried to investigate the cause of the alarm prior to the arrival of firefighters. He was transported to Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital in stable condition.

Most of the fire had been extinguished by sprinklers, allowing firefighters to focus initially on rescuing the injured victims. This blaze was contained to the apartment of origin, and damage to the building itself was kept to a minimum.

Building damage included smoke and fire in the affected apartment, and some water damage on the first and second floors. The fire-related loss to the apartment was subsequently estimated at $13,000; Fire Bureau investigators have so far not been able to establish a cause.

Classified as a 'single alarm commercial fire', the event drew equipment and firefighters from Woodstock Station 25, Portland State University Station 4, and Burlingame Station 10, plus an AMR ambulance.

TriMet provided two buses to serve as temporary shelter for any residents of the Manor wishing to stay outside the building during the firefighting event, but few residents availed themselves of that opportunity.