Nearby gas meter adds to severity

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: TVF&R - A house fire in West Linn started after used fireworks were placed in a bag near the exterior of a home.Fireworks are to blame for a West Linn house fire.

At 3:21 a.m. Friday, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to a house fire at 19939 Bellevue Way in West Linn.

When firefighters arrived, they found fire spreading up the exterior of the two-story home. The fire, although not significant in size, was being fed by the home's natural gas meter, which was burning as well. Along with the fire, crews were concerned about the home being energized because the home's electrical meter was compromised. Firefighters coordinated hose streams in a “fog pattern” to push the fire away from the gas meter, while firefighters from Clackamas Fire District turned the valve off.

Until Northwest Natural could arrive to shut off the gas to the house, crews continued to control the fire on the side of the home, while other crews were inside minimizing the chance of fire spreading to the interior and attic space.

Crews also took precautions to protect the homeowners' valuables from smoke and water, according to TVF&R. Northwest Natural was on scene within about 30 minutes, at which point crews were able to completely put out the fire.

A TVF&R investigator determined the fire was fireworks related. According to the homeowners, they used fireworks that are legal in Oregon and collected the spent debris around 11 p.m. The fireworks were not soaked in water or wetted down, and the plastic tote containing the used fireworks was placed next to the house near the natural and electric meters. Both the homeowners and overnight guests smelled smoke and, upon investigation, found the fire and safely escaped the home.

The home suffered significant damage to its exterior with some slight damage to the roof and garage. The damage and spread could have been much worse had it not been for the home's noncombustible exterior siding and a composition roof, which replaced a wood shake shingle roof less than two years ago, according to TVF&R. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue reminds everyone to discard their spent fireworks safely in metal containers or douse them with TVF&R - Improperly disposed of fireworks are to blame for an early morning house fire in West Linn.

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