Brush fire destroys two abandoned buildings

Difficult access and illegal dumping contribute to big blaze

A Monday evening grass fire burned an abandoned house and another building on Southwest 170th Avenue.

The fire came close to scortching Beaverton's Mountain View Middle School.

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue crews were called at about 7 p.m. to the fire at 5915 S.W. 170th Ave. by neighbors who thought it was just a blaze that started in the grass. Firefighters arrived to find two buildings engulfed in flames, some shooting 50 feet into the air. The fire spread to nearby fir and cedar trees that surrounded the buildings.

A second alarm was called because of difficult access and the need to get additional brush fire rigs on scene to protect neighboring houses and the middle school. Firefighters were confronted with a lengthy, overgrown gravel driveway that made it hard to get to the fire.

More than 50 firefighters from the fire district and Hillsboro responded in 13 trucks.

It took about 45 minutes to control the blaze. Firefighters poured water on it for another hour to make certain it didn't flare up.

Firefighters limited the spread of the fire to adjacent trees and then turned their attention to the abandoned structures. The fire was stubborn because of illegal dumping that had occurred in the buildings, which increased the fuel load.

Neighbors reported seeing two juveniles fleeing the area just about the time the fire began. Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call 503-612-7000.

A Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue investigator was on the scene checking for evidence of the cause.