Folks all over Southeast Portland saw the big column of smoke rising -- it caught the attention of firefighters too

DAVID F. ASHTON - Although firefighters quickly knocked down the fire that appeared to be concentrated in the front room of this duplex. The fire is out but smoke still arises; a crew member wets down the roof. When a fire broke out on one side of a duplex – one of several duplexes in a development at the corner of S.E. 47th Avenue and Clinton Street – on Friday afternoon, December 3, the response was rapid.

While callers were still ringing 9-1-1 Center dispatchers, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were already on their way to the fire. The duplexes in the group are owned by the Housing Authority of Portland.

"Woodstock Station 25's Engine Company was just pulling out of their building, when they noticed the column of smoke, not far away," PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Laurent Picard told THE BEE at the scene. "As they rolled out, and called it in to dispatch, Station 25's Ladder Truck Company responded right behind them."

Because the development consists of closely-spaced, single-story duplexes, within minutes a PF&R Battalion Chief called for a second alarm. Soon after, a total of 24 fire trucks and engines were arriving at the scene, in the Richmond neighborhood.

"We had reports -- first that one person was trapped inside the burning unit; then a report of a second person trapped in the adjoining unit," said Picard. "As it turned out, the person in the fire-involved apartment had exited the structure before crews arrived; firefighters were able to help the person in the other unit safely get out. So, both ambulances were dismissed."

With the fire quickly brought under control, the incident was soon reduced to a single alarm; the other responding firefighters were returned to their respective stations.

Lt. Picard wouldn't speculate at the scene about the extent of damage at this fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.

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