**Updated with fire cause and damage estimate 11/28/14**
A TVF&R fire investigator has determined that the cause of the Oak Hills townhouse fire on NW Norwich Street on November 16, 2014 was related to smoking materials. Damage to the six townhomes involved in the fire is estimated at $1,000,000.
Information and safety tips on smoking and the safe disposal of smoking materials can be found at http://www.tvfr.com/index.aspx?nid=258.
At 10:43pm, the first of multiple calls came into 9-1-1 from a neighbor reporting black smoke and flames coming from a detached garage unit near a row of townhomes. At the report of heavy smoke and active fire, the incident was upgraded to a first alarm bringing increased resources to the scene. Crews from Bethany Station 68 arrived within five minutes to find multiple detached garage units fully-involved with flame extending to a building containing multiple townhomes. The initial reported address of the townhome was 15360 NW Norwich Street in Beaverton. Townhomes from address number 15330 to 15380 were impacted.
Crews initiated an aggressive fire attack simultaneously on the garage units and the townhomes. Given the heavy fire and spread to multiple units, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm to request more firefighters and resources. The fire moved quickly into the attic space and eventually caused partial structure collapse. For the safety of the crews and personnel on scene, firefighters continued to fight the fire from a defensive position outside of the structure. Aerial ladder water systems were used to provide high volumes of water to fight the fire from above to support firefighting efforts on the ground. The detached garage units also suffered significant structural damage and partially collapsed. After the fire was knocked down, crews remained on-scene to check for hot spots and guard against rekindling of the fire. Approximately six townhomes were impacted by the fire.
More than 60 firefighters responded to the scene to fight this fire. Crews from neighboring agencies also responded including Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Metro West Ambulance, and TVF&R volunteers.
Residents reported knocking on doors to alert neighbors of the fire and that all residents had evacuated safely. Crews performed a search of the structure and confirmed that no one was inside. One cat was reported missing but was not located. The American Red Cross responded to the incident to provide victim assistance. Approximately eight residents were displaced by the fire. No injuries were reported.
A nearby water main further west along NW Norwich Street, away from the fire, was also reported to have ruptured flowing large amounts of water into the street. This water main rupture did not affect firefighting activities. The local water purveyor was contacted to mitigate and fix the rupture.
TVF&R investigators are interviewing witnesses and neighbors as well as examining material evidence to determine a cause and damage estimate.
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