Several Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue stations increased staffing from three- to four-person crews as of June 1, including the one in North Plains

COURTESY MATTHEW LABONTE - The damage from this Saturday fire could have been much greater with a recent fire crew staffing increaseA recent increase in staffing at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue stations is credited with limiting the potential damage from a Saturday evening fire in North Plains.

According to TVF&R, at 7:30 p.m. on July 15,multiple callers to 911 reported heavy smoke and flames coming from the area of Northwest Highland Court and Northwest 313th Avenue in North Plains. Callers originally reported a shed, fence and two homes on fire.

When firefighters from Station 17 arrived, they found one home engulfed in flames with a potential to spread to the neighboring house. The incident was immediately upgraded to a second alarm in order to bring in adequate fire suppression resources.

Before additional firefighters could arrive, a four-person crew entered the burning house and helped bring the fire under control. It was extinguished without spreading to the adjacent house.

According to TVF&R, the four-person staffing was essential to containing the fire to one home. For safety reasons, it is not advisable for firefighters to enter a burning building, unless there are victims inside, without adequate resources on scene.

As of June 1 of this year, TVF&R Station 17 in North Plains and Station 19 in Midway (previously Washington County Fire District 2), along with stations 20 and 21 in Newberg, increased staffing from three to four firefighters. This recent staffing increase allowed firefighters from the Station 17 station to safely enter the home prior to another engine crew arriving, which helped expedite getting the fire under control.

According to Battalion Chief Casey Brown, "Firefighters were able to handle substantial fire conditions because of the capability of a four-person crew."

Residents of the home were not present at the time the fire was reported and there were no pets in the house. The family plans to stay with relatives. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined.

TVF&R was assisted by Hillsboro Fire and Rescue, Metro West Ambulance and North Plains Police Department.

Photo credit for picture of house with smoke and flames: Matthew LaBonte

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