Smoke from the house mixed with wildfire smoke, so visibility was very limited for firefighters

DAVID F. ASHTON - A family member holds her cat, named Little One - giving it oxygen from a special pet rescue rig carried in all PF&R Battalion Chief vehicles. It's still not been revealed how a fire started at 7916 S.E. Lambert Street in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, September 5, but the damage was devastating for the residents.

The first call to the 9-1-1 Center came in at 5:44 p.m., bringing Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to the scene. Driving up, the first arriving unit reported seeing "smoke from two blocks away".

The homeowner told THE BEE that several of his family members were at home when the fire broke out. "I've no idea how it started, but it started behind the house," he said.

PF&R rigs from Woodstock, Lents, and Westmoreland fire stations battled the smoky blaze – joined by crews from as far away as Southwest Portland.

Complicating the firefight was an electrical power line that fell, arcing and spitting on the ground. A further complication was the heavy smoke already in the air in Portland that day, blowing in from the Eagle Creek wildfire to the east, and limiting visibility.

Firefighters confirmed that residents had all escaped the house as they continued to fight the blaze.

By 6:10 p.m., the flames had been knocked down; crews used heat-seeking infrared vision equipment to find and extinguish hot spots.

One of the house's residents, fearing her cat had perished in the fire, was overjoyed when a firefighter brought it out, along with a pet oxygen unit to revive the kitty.

A PF&R Investigator was called to the scene. However, at press time, the suspected cause and the estimated damage had not yet been reported.

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