Just after noon today, several callers to 911 reported a fire in the 22000 block of Viewpoint Road in West Linn. Firefighters arrived to find a row of arborvitae hedges threatening a second-story deck.
The fire was quickly extinguished, and firefighters prevented it from spreading into the condominium. The condominium occupant was home and reported losing power just prior to the fire.
Several eyewitnesses also reported seeing a flash of light or hearing loud popping sounds just before the fire. One even reported seeing helium balloons make contact with power lines.
Based on these accounts, material evidence, and consultation with a PGE lineman, a fire investigator determined the cause of the fire to be Mylar balloons contacting three single-phase power lines, causing them to direct short through the power pole to the ground. This in turn scorched the power pole, and a nearby row of arborvitae hedges caught fire.
The arborvitae fire spread to an adjacent deck of a three-story condominium.
Damage is estimated to be about $15,000, and there were no injuries as a result of the fire. Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue was assisted by Lake Oswego Fire Department, Clackamas County Fire District #1, West Linn Police Department, and Portland General Electric.