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The lesson from Portland Fire and Rescue is clear: Smoke alarms, when working properly, save lives

DAVID F. ASHTON - When a fire broke out in a Duke Street residential kitchen, a smoke alarm sounded, and firefighters arrived swiftly to contain and extinguish it.Firefighters were dispatched to a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood home – at 6427 S.E. 81st Avenue, near Duke Street, at 2:21 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, November 21 – when both a resident and a neighbor called the 9-1-1 Center to report a fire in the structure.

Lents Fire Station 11's Engine Company was the first at the scene; the crew reported seeing smoke from the back of the home. While they hooked up their water lines and prepared to fight the blaze, other arriving firefighters searched the house for potential victims.

At least one resident had been medically evaluated as fire crews arrived, and fire crews were directed to the home's kitchen.

Woodstock Fire Station 25's Ladder Company pulled ladders from their rig, and – chainsaws in hand – stood ready to clamber up to the roof to cut holes for "vertical ventilation", if that were needed.

As it turned out, the firefighters were able to extinguish the kitchen fire and contain it to that one room, without it having extended into the rest of the house.

"There is a fire safety message here," a PF&R Battalion Chief told THE BEE. "That is, 'Smoke detectors save lives' – this home's units were working, and alerted the residents, who were able to safely escape the structure."

Fire investigators have yet to announce the cause of the fire and offer a damage estimate.


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