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Firefighters respond to blaze on North 2nd Street, Tuesday, Feb. 26, that displaced three occupants

COURTESY PHOTO: COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE - Firefighters were called to a single-story blaze in the 300 block of North 2nd Street in St. Helens on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the house is a complete loss. Three people were displaced from their rental house in St. Helens after a fire broke out Tuesday night that destroyed the building.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a house fire in the 300 block of North 2nd Street around 7:40 p.m., when the occupants reported the blaze.

When firefighters arrived, they found the single-story building ablaze, which was ultimately declared a total loss. Crews worked to prevent flames from spreading to nearby structures, CRFR Division Chief Ian O'Connor said.

"It was a lot of fire for being so early on," O'Connor said.

During the incident, a live power line was also down in the area.

CRFR crews were assisted by the Scappoose Fire District, St. Helens police, NW Natural Gas and Columbia River People's Utility District. Sixteen career and volunteer firefighters were on scene.

Two of the three men who lived at the house were home at the time of the blaze, O'Connor reported. One of the men was in a back room of the single-story house when he noticed the fire. He began to evacuate the home, yelling "fire!" Another man who was in a front bedroom was then alerted to the blaze and climbed out a window to escape. The third roommate was not home at the time.

The house did not have working smoke detectors.

No injuries were reported. The three men received assistance from the American Red Cross.

Fire crews were on scene until nearly 11 p.m. working to extinguish hot spots from the blaze.

The home was an older model with spray-in insulation, which can easily ignite, O'Connor explained. If an ember gets into the insulation, it can cause flare ups after the fire has been extinguished.

"When fire gets in there, you have to basically pull the whole ceiling down to get at it," O'Connor said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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