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House fire kills LO woman

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Carole Frank died in a fire at this condominum near the intersection of Second Stree and D Avenue last Thursday.

Police and fire officials are still investigating the cause of a fire that roared through a condominium in Lake Oswego's First Addition neighborhood last Thursday, killing a 56-year-old woman.

Carole Frank's son Andrew, 16, told firefighters he woke at about midnight to heavy smoke in his bedroom.

He jumped 13 feet from the window on the second floor, found a hide-a-key to open the front door but was hit by a wall of flames, blocking his way back into the house.

Fire officials say he tried briefly fighting the fire with a garden hose before running to a neighbor's house to call 9-1-1 shortly after midnight.

Firefighters arrived at the condo at Second Street and D Avenue in less than two minutes, where they found flames shooting from the first- and second-story windows.

Carole Frank's body was later found on the floor of her upstairs bedroom.

Friends describe the woman as having a humanitarian spirit. In addition to her work at the Portland State University Dental Clinic, she maintained a private practice, cleaning teeth for homebound clients and in assisted living facilities.

Friends say she enjoyed helping people and had a unique ability to recognize suffering and empathize with others.

'Carole was a full-time single mom - very sweet. She'd watch our dog when we were on vacation. If I went over there asking for an egg she'd give me the whole pack. She was the kind of neighbor you'd want,' said Taylor Mumm, 22, who lived next door to the Franks up until one month ago.

'(My mom and I) knew her for eight years. Some people started calling us at 5:30 a.m. to tell us what happened. We all know each other over there. I feel horrible because it's basically my house,' Mumm said.

Carole Frank had lived in Lake Oswego for 10 years. In her free time, she liked to hike, cook, play tennis and ski and she was an extremely accomplished and competitive ice skater in her youth.

As a teen, she traveled to the Western Regional ice skating championship and just missed qualifying for an Olympic trial.

Her son Andrew Frank, known to friends as A.J., suffered scrapes and bruises after leaping from the fire to safety but wasn't seriously hurt. He is staying with his father in Vancouver.

Fire officials say the fire caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the D Avenue building, though most of the damage was confined to the Franks' condominium. Another $150,000 in personal effects were also lost.

Among the items damaged was a half of a teddy bear, seen on the roof near Carole Frank's bedroom early Thursday.

A fund has been established to assist A.J. Frank, who lost all but the clothes he wore in the blaze. Contributions can be made in his name at any branch of Washington Mutual. Checks should be make out to the 'A J Frank fund.'

Reporters from KPAM 860 AM and Lee van der Voo and Nicole DeCosta from the Lake Oswego Review contributed to this story.