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The house has caught fire four times recently, and is supposed to be unoccupied. Neighvbors suspect arson

Portland firefighters discussed the house fire while others continued to work on the roof. The fire investigator is in the center, in a black jacket. The house caught fire three times before very recently.On the sunny Sunday morning of October 2, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were dispatched at 11:33 a.m. to a residential fire at 6637 S.E. 56th Avenue, mid-block between S.E. Duke and Cooper streets.

Shortly after receiving the alarm, Woodstock Fire Station 25's Ladder Truck company was on scene, reporting to dispatch that fire was showing from the roof and eaves of this boarded-up house.

Within minutes, an additional six rigs, apparatus, and crews, had rolled into the narrow street, including one on mutual aid from Clackamas Fire District #1's Engine 301. Two PF&R Battalion Chiefs were also on hand, directing the efforts to put out the blaze in the 1926 structure.

Firefighters took a "defensive fire attack" — cutting open boarded-up windows and doors, and spraying water inside — due to the poor condition of the structure.

For about 15 minutes, crews drenched the interior and exterior with water before the flames died down. Members of the Station 25 crew clambered onto the roof, cut holes for vertical ventilation, and sprayed water on the smoldering fire from above.

At 12:09 p.m. firefighters were called off the roof due to "compromised structure".

At the scene, one firefighter remarked that one of their concerns in fighting this fire — which was just across the fence and alley to the east of the Apostolic Faith Mission campus —was the large stand of tall dry fir trees, and the camp meeting cabins nearby. The Apostolic Faith church also owns the row houses — including the burned house — along the street.

Neighbors mentioned that this house had a fire, then was boarded up, only recently. Another nearby resident speculated that the fires could have been arson.

"Yes, this structure caught fire on August 31st, and again September 1st and 2nd," PF&R Public Information Officer Terry Foster confirmed to THE BEE.

"It was deemed unsafe to attack the interior this time, due to the instability of the floor which had burned through. As in the previous fire calls, the house was boarded up when crews arrived," Foster added. "The house had been disconnected from electric service, and was not occupied when crews arrived."

A PF&R Investigator was at the scene; the fire is under investigation," concluded Foster.

(Elizabeth Ussher Groff contributed to this story.)

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