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Girls quick action keeps fire from destroying home

by: submitted Firefighters credit a 13-year-old Lake Oswego girl with saving her family's house after an electrical problem with a ceiling light in this room sparked a fire.

A Lake Oswego home was one minute away from being destroyed by fire on Saturday night.

But fast action by a 13-year-old girl saved her First Addition home from much worse damage.

Max Foster entered her home at 652 B Ave. at around 10:30 that night, after visiting with her grandmother, when she smelled smoke. She then saw smoke coming from the walls.

The girl ran back to her grandmother's house to call 9-1-1. The downtown fire station, located just three blocks away, was able to send firefighters to the scene in just three minutes. Although damage was extensive - an estimated $45,000 - the girl's speedy effort prevented a far worse outcome from the blaze.

'Her quick action by calling 9-1-1 immediately for sure saved the house from even more damage,' said Gert Zoutendijk, deputy fire marshal for the city of Lake Oswego. 'When firefighters arrived they saw just flames along the ceiling and in the attic, but by the time they got upstairs in the house conditions had dramatically changed. Smoke was now thick and low to the ground.'

LOFD Lt. Brian McVicker, who arrived first on the scene, said, 'Just one more minute longer and this fire would have been way worse and more intense. We are very pleased that we arrived here when we did.'

A report on the fire showed it was caused by an electrical problem with a ceiling light. The blaze contributed to extensive fire damage to the attic and roof and water damage to the lower floor. However, the rapid response by firefighters was able to prevent the family pets - a guinea pig and four cats - from being destroyed, along with a large number of valuables.

The LOFD was assisted in the action by Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. The 22 firefighters were able to control the fire in about 30 minutes.

A pleasant result of this incident was that young Max, a student at Lake Oswego Junior High School, became a media heroine when TV stations and newspapers rushed to the scene to interview her.




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