Crews were able to save several pets from a burning apartment in downtown Tigard, Tuesday morning. No one was injured but two apartment units were destroyed a third was damaged.A fire that destroyed two apartment units and damaged a third in downtown Tigard on Tuesday was likely started by an improperly disposed of cigarette butt.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescure investigators said Tuesday afternoon that the two-alarm fire began on the back deck of a ground-floor apartment at Main Street Village after the cigarette was placed inside a plastic garbage bag.

The fire spread upstairs and onto neighboring apartment patios.

Fire district crews were called to the complex, located in the 9200 block of Southwest Maplewood Drive off Main Street, at about 6:32 a.m., after heavy fire was seen billowing from two outdoor patios.

From the Station 51 firehouse on nearby Burnham Street, firefighters on their way could see a heavy column of smoke, according to Karen Eubanks, a TVF&R spokeswoman.

Two apartments, a ground-floor unit and its upstairs neighbor, were ablaze when crews arrived. The fire charred the exteriors of two neighboring apartments as well.

It took 30 firefighters about 20 minutes to get the fire under control, and crews were able to check if any of the tenants were trapped inside.

No one was injured in the fire. Neighbors helped tenants evacuate before fire crews arrived, Eubanks said.

Firefighters were able to save several pets, which were left inside during the blaze, including two dogs, a bird, a guinea pig and a tortoise.

Eubanks said 10 adults and three children were displaced by the fire. The American Red Cross is assisting them with lodging.

In total, two units were destroyed and the third sustained water damage, Eubanks said.

She added that the fire demonstrates the importance of the public regularly testing their smoke alarms, having renter’s insurance and taking time to prepare escape plans with family members in the event of a fire.

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