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Firefighters keep burning RV from torching S.E. house

by: David F. Ashton, Using Compressed Air Foam to put out the hotspots, firefighters made sure the motor home fire was completely out.

The simple act of trying to start up a motor home could have ended up burning down a Southeast house and garage just east of Woodstock on Saturday, November 24th.

'The owner told me the motor home had been sitting for quite a while,' commented Lt. Mark Lyons, Portland Fire Bureau Engine 25, as his crew continued to spray fire-extinguishing foam into the blackened shell of the vehicle.

The lieutenant in charge of the effort added, 'He said he started it up and saw some smoke. He saw gas dripping from the gas line. A fire broke out. He went to get a fire extinguisher, and it didn't put out the fire.'

We learned from Battalion Chief, District #4, Mark Gift, that the call reporting the fire - in the 6500 block of S.E. 69th Avenue, came in at 12:22 pm that afternoon.

'When Engine 25 was enroute, they noticed a substantial column of smoke while they were still on heading south on 52nd Avenue, before they turned up Duke Street,' Gift told us. 'It was originally dispatched as a vehicle fire; a motor home in a driveway adjacent to a house.'

Just five minutes after the fire call came in, Engine 25 rolled up to the scene.

'When they arrived, they found a motor home half involved [on fire],' said Gift. 'The fire was significant enough that the house immediately to the north and the garage immediately to the west were exposed to high temperatures from the fire.'

Lt. Lyons requested a residential fire response. 'This gave us a total of four engines, a ladder truck, and two battalion chiefs to fight the fire,' explained Gift.

We saw that the home's vinyl siding had melted, oozing and dripping on the driveway from the fire's intense heat. The front of the detached garage was smoking, as if about to burst into flames.

Thanks to the precision teamwork of responding firefighters, the fuel-fed fire engulfing the blazing RV was quenched. 'There was some damage to the exterior of the house and the face of the garage, however there were no fire exertions inside,' said Lyons. 'But it looks like the motor home is pretty much a loss.'

No one was injured; loss estimates were not available.