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Firefighters had to act fast to keep this apartment fire from spreading to additional buildings

DAVID F. ASHTON - After firefighters quickly doused a blaze inside this upstairs apartment in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, ladder truck crews pried up the roof to snuff out remaining embers in the attic and eaves. When fire broke out just before 1 p.m. on Monday, October 1, in an upstairs unit at the Firland Apartments – at 8012 S.E. Raymond Street – several residents called the 9-1-1 Center to report the blaze.

"The fire was burning out the window so much, a window across the way [in a building adjacent to the fire] shattered," remarked witness Cindy Nelson, who said she'd been walking her dog when she noticed smoke and fire appearing from between the buildings.

"It seemed like the fire trucks were there immediately – so soon, it was just amazing!" Nelson commented to THE BEE.

In fact, the crews from both the engine and ladder truck company of Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Woodstock Station 25 arrived within three minutes of the alarm being sounded.

As they pulled up, firefighters reported back to the dispatcher seeing heavy smoke and fire rising from the smaller, most westerly, of the three apartment buildings that make up this ROSE CDC managed complex.

Some residents helped others, who were less physically able, out of the burning building, as arriving firefighters went through the affected apartments looking for any further victims.

Firefighters from PF&R Lents Station 11 worked with crews of Engine 25 to quickly pull hose lines up to the second story apartment and douse the flames, preventing the fire from spreading to other apartments and buildings.

The ladder truck companies clambered up to the roof, sawing and clawing the roof back and spraying in water, to extinguish the remaining fire that had extended into the building's attic and eaves.

"Due to the amount of fire, and the proximity to other apartment structures, incident commanders requested a 'second alarm', doubling the number of engines, ladder trucks, and personnel called in," reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. "The fast 'fire attack', and the additional resources, kept the fire from spreading."

There were three occupants were inside the apartment in which the fire started – one elderly female, and two children – Chatman remarked. "All of the residents of the building, and the occupants of the originating apartment, escaped before PF&R crews arrived – but the elderly female sustained some smoke inhalation injuries." She was stabilized at the scene, and transported to a hospital for medical care.

This fire is still under investigation, he added.

Disaster responders from the American Red Cross arrived to provide for the immediate basic needs of all those displaced by the fire – which included five adults, four children, and two pets. The assistance included temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits including toiletries, and information about recovery services.

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