Grass clippings catch fire and damage multiple homes in Hillsboro
A fire damaged two houses and an RV in Hillsboro on Friday, July 24, after grass clippings spontaneously combusted nearby, according to firefighters.
No one was injured in the fire, which took place in the 900 block of Northeast Baldwin Street.
Shortly before noon Friday, multiple neighbors reported the fire as well as sounds described as explosions, according to Hillsboro Fire & Rescue. They said a house had caught on fire.
Fire crews reported seeing a plume of black smoke rising from the area on their way to the incident. They upgraded the situation to a first-alarm fire for additional resources.
Within three minutes of the initial reports, crews with Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Station 5 arrived and found an active fire burning between two homes and an RV.
"Crews initiated an aggressive attack to knock down the fire and prevent it from spreading further into the homes and RV," the fire agency said in a statement. "Fire did extend up the siding and partially into the attic of one home. During extinguishment, a natural gas line leaked gas in the area of the fire and ignited, but crews contained that fire quickly."
Crews secured utilities to the homes to further mitigate risks from power and gas lines, the fire agency said.
One person was briefly unaccounted for as firefighters searched the homes and RV to ensure residents and pets made it out safely. The person was located at the home of a neighbor, according to Hillsboro Fire & Rescue.
A Hillsboro Fire & Reescue chaplain responded to support occupants of the damaged homes, including three adults and two dogs in one home and two adults and two dogs in the second home.
A fire investigator determined the fire was caused when nearby grass clippings spontaneously combusted.
Hillsboro Fire & Rescue is advising people to dispose of grass clippings by placing them in yard debris containers away from other combustible materials, such as wood fences, especially during hot weather conditions. Firefighters say people shouldn't compress grass clippings in containers and instead place them in loosely.
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