Clackamas Fire District No. 1 investigators identified improper use of a gas fireplace as the cause of a Wednesday night two-alarm residential fire in Oregon City causing $200,000 in damage.

The homeowner at 220 Terrace Ave. was burning wood in a fireplace designed for burning natural gas, so the fire spread beyond the fireplace insert inadequate for that use, said Brandon Paxton, fire-district spokesman. Paxton added that investigators have discovered that the fireplace had been improperly used for wood several times prior to the incident.

At 5:35 p.m. on Dec. 11, firefighters were called to a fire in the area of Quarry and 3rd streets. Minutes later, crews found a large three-story residence with a well-established fire on its first floor that was quickly spreading.

They immediately fought the fire from its interior, ventilated the structure and searched for possible victims. But due to the construction type and age of the residence, the fire spread very quickly and caused damage to the upper floors and roof. The residence was unoccupied at the time and appeared to being going through a remodel.

Clackamas Fire was assisted by Canby Fire District, Tualatin Valley Fire and the Gladstone Fire Department. No injuries have been reported.

Clackamas Fire would like to remind people to ensure that they have a working smoke alarm on every floor of the home and outside of all the sleeping areas.

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