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Residential fire led to complicated response; no injuries Tuesday evening, May 11

Gresham Fire responded to a one-alarm residential blaze Tuesday evening, May 11, on Southeast Giese Road, between 182nd and 190th, during an incident that made for a complicated response.

The fire remains under investigation, but appears to have begun in the attic and spread rapidly before the homeowner discovered the flames and called 911. Gresham Fire & Emergency Services crews arrived at the scene around 11 p.m.

In total, 25 firefighters responded to the blaze. Because both homeowners had safely escaped the building, crews switched to defensive firefighting and attacked the flames from outside.

The firefighters had to deal with a few complications at the scene. Crews had to force open the electric gate because they didn't have the code. The long driveway also made water supply distance a factor in the response. Crews tapped into water lines from a neighborhood being built to the northeast of the home.

The roof was made of concrete tiles, which tend to retain heat and makes it more difficult to identify a fire in the attic. Those tiles are also heavy and become a safety concern for firefighters inside and close to the structure.

The home was a total loss.

Firefighters said many attic fires are caused by bathroom vent fans — though it remains unclear if that was a factor during Tuesday's fire. Fire experts said those fans are not intended to be used for long durations, and should not be left on for long periods of time.


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