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This house fire was so hot, it ignited the house next door also, in Inner Southeast

DAVID F. ASHTON - By the light of the following day, it was obvious that this newly-remodeled rental home had been gutted by the fire. When fire started showing in a Brentwood-Darlington house at 5604 S.E. Cooper Street on August 25, the residents and neighbors began calling the 9-1-1 Center at 2:58 a.m. to report the rapidly-growing blaze.

"Initial reports stated that one house was on fire, and that people were yelling and screaming, and trying to put the fire out at the back of the house with a garden hose," said Portland Fire & Rescue Sr. Public Education Officer Kim Kosmas.

Arriving crews reported that the house was by then fully involved, and that the flames were extending to the neighboring house at 5532 S.E. Cooper, Kosmas reported. "Firefighters quickly confirmed that everyone was out of the first house, performed a primary search of the second home to be sure that the residents got out, and began an initial defensive fire attack on the first home."

A second alarm was called by firefighters within five minutes of arrival, because of multiple hazards identified early in the incident. Not only were two homes on fire, but there was a downed and arcing power line, and a leaking gas line caused when the meter melted off the house.

Fires in both homes were extinguished quickly, but crews stayed for some time, dousing embers. "Three people escaped the fire from the first home; and one person, two dogs, and a bunny escaped the fire from the second home," said Kosmas. The cause has not yet been reported.

As fire crews were leaving, Ed, a neighbor, told THE BEE, "I was awakened by shouts of people running around outside; they banged on the door of the house next to mine, but then I saw that the family was already out.

"The owners of the house with all the fire had just done a lot of work – maybe $50,000 worth – on it," Ed said. "Now, it will likely have to be bulldozed."

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