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It wasn't even near the 4th of July when illegal fireworks caused major damage to two S.E. homes

DAVID F. ASHTON - When illegal fireworks sparked a grass fire between two closely-spaced houses, falling debris from the house on the right ruptured a natural gas line, shooting fire up into the eaves, and setting the house on the left ablaze. The Danger tape below marks the downed power line. What became a conflagration began on Saturday evening, August 11, when several Brentwood-Darlington neighbors called the 9-1-1 Center complaining about loud fireworks going off on S.E. Flavel Street, west of 60th Avenue.

After yet another loud explosion, the tall dry grass and weeds between two narrowly-spaced homes at 5818 and 5823 Flavel caught fire – dispatching Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to the area at 10:16 p.m.

Woodstock Fire Station 25's Engine Company was first to arrive, and reported that the side of the westerly home was showing smoke and fire. And before long, parts of both homes were ablaze. A PF&R Battalion Chief called for a "second alarm" to bring more firefighters to the scene, including a mutual-aid engine from Clackamas Fire District #1.

"There was heavy fire damage to the first floor of the westerly house," PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman told THE BEE. "Material fell from that structure's roof, which hit and ruptured a natural gas meter line, which soon erupted in flames – shooting a good sized ball of fire up between the houses.

"The siding on the easterly house did its job, and didn't catch fire; but that torch of fire from the gas meter set the eaves of the two-story residence on fire, igniting the attic space and second story rooms of that house."

Complicating the firefight, another jet of flames burned through an electrical service line, causing it to drop into the street, still "live".

However, by 10:40 p.m., firefighters had extinguished the fire at both houses, but spent several more hours at the scene putting out hot spots.

"There were no reported injuries in this incident," Chatman reported, confirming that, "A PF&R Arson Investigator believes the cause of this fire was illegal fireworks," Those who shot off the illegal fireworks are being sought to face charges.

Disaster responders with the American Red Cross Cascades Region provided aid to two adults and four children who'd been displaced by the fires.

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