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Brentwood-Darlington 'electrical problem' quickly becomes a house fire

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Firefighters flashlights light up the interior of this home while they seek out additional 'hot spots'.Across the street from the burning house, a tearful, sobbing woman clutched a man, as she and the neighbors watched Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews work to extinguish a fire that was gutting her Brentwood-Darlington home. It happened on the evening of Wednesday, February 13th.

A little after 5 pm, the crew of PF&R Engine 11 in Lents was dispatched to a residence at 7440 S.E. Rural Street to investigate the report of an electrical fire.

“But, as they approached the address, they found a large column of smoke in the area,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman.

“It was upgraded from an electrical problem to a residential fire,” Chatman added. “When Engine 11 arrived at the residence, the crew found the garage and the rear portion of the house on fire.”

While crewmembers pulled hose lines to begin an interior fire attack, additional firefighters arrived, including a crew from Woodstock Station 25, who began by searching for victims.

“Truck 25’s crew laddered up to the roof of the residence and used chain saws to provide ventilation for the heat and smoke below, so that interior crews could operate more effectively.”

Other firefighters used additional water lines to hose down and protect nearby structures.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross, Oregon Region, responded, assisting two adults displaced by the fire with food, clothing, and lodging.

“A fire investigator determined that fire had been started from arcing at an electric panel in the garage,” Chatman later reported. “The damage estimate was set at $50,000 to structure and contents. No injuries were reported.”

Had the fire been late at night, the outcome might have been deadly, Chatman observed. “There were no operating smoke detectors in the garage. Smoke detectors can be a critical life-saving component of your home.”