On the corner of Killingsworth Street and Mallory Avenue, an abandoned house in Northeast Portland caught fire early Sunday morning. The house had a long history of fire damage. Around 12:30 a.m., Portland Fire and Rescue rushed to the scene, where they were met with the terrifying sight of flames shooting from the house’s roof. Since the blaze had severely damaged the top, the firefighters made the unorthodox choice to attack the fire from above using ladders.
According to an official statement released by Portland Fire & Rescue, while this method is frequently used for more extensive commercial facilities, it is rarely used in residential fire scenarios.
The house’s damaged condition introduced additional difficulties due to earlier fire events. The fire had engulfed the stairwell, leaving the interior with multiple gaping holes. Therefore, the CO decided to use “ladder pipe” nozzles, also known as “master streams” from the aerial ladders, to cool and extinguish the flames from above.
— Portland Fire & Rescue (@PDXFire) June 18, 2023
At the same time, firemen used a “water curtain” to keep water from drenching nearby homes and businesses. To protect the neighbourhood, they showered the nearby houses with a steady stream of water. After the aerial attack, firefighters used handheld fire hoses to extinguish the smouldering embers.
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After nearly two hours of fighting the blaze from above, the incident commander ordered firefighters to enter the damaged building and put out any remaining flames. The complex design and hard-to-reach empty spots inside the building generated risks that must be carefully managed. In addition, several barriers made it difficult for firefighters to use aerial water streams, extending their time on the scene.
Thankfully, no other nearby homes were damaged, and no casualties were recorded due to the fire. Portland Fire and Rescue’s ability to contain the blaze quickly and efficiently speaks volumes about the department’s commitment to public safety and willingness to take on difficult situations. They were able to keep the fire from spreading by taking preventative precautions and using strategic firefighting procedures.
Local authorities and fire officials will thoroughly investigate the fire’s cause to learn more about what led to it. Meanwhile, residents may thank Portland Fire and Rescue for quick action and professionalism, which averted a disaster.