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Cigarettes are still a top cause of home fires, and often, fatalities


DAVID F. ASHTON - If neighbors hadnt pulled the victim from his burning trailer, he likely would have perished in the blaze, officials say. All that remains of the travel trailer which – until the morning of December 1 – was home to a 70-year-old man, is just a burned-out shell. The fire was spotted and reported just after 9:00 a.m. that morning.

The resident, who fire officials said was using therapy oxygen in the trailer in the Shady Lane Mobile Home Park on S.E. Henderson Street, just west of 82nd Avenue of Roses, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, escaped death when a neighbor pulled him from his smoke-filled, burning trailer.

"The neighbor that rescued the resident stated that he initially tried to put out the fire, but it became so big so fast that he knew he and the victim needed to get out," reported Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Tyler.

The first fire crew to arrive, from Lents Station Engine 11, saw flames and smoke coming from all of the trailer's windows and doors as they pulled up, Tyler told THE BEE at the scene.

"Firefighters had to back off, after a power line fell on the unit, electrically energizing the metal trailer. Fire crews protected a nearby structure and other trailers from fire exposure with water, until PGE cut the power," said Tyler, as he pointed to a coiled electrical power line at the side of the street.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital in stable condition, Tyler revealed.

"PF&R Arson Squad Investigators determined that this fire was caused by smoking while using home-therapy oxygen," Tyler said. "The fire ignited when the victim lit a match, which started the fire in the enriched oxygen environment inside the trailer."

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