At 6:32 this morning, 9-1-1 dispatchers received multiple calls reporting heavy fire on at least two exterior decks and flames in an apartment at the Main Street Village Apartment complex in downtown Tigard. As they were leaving the station, crews from Station 51 in Tigard could already see a heavy column of smoke and requested additional fire units.
First-arriving crews found two apartments - a ground level unit and a second-story unit above - with significant fire. The fire had also consumed the two apartments' exterior deck on the back side of the building. Crews immediately waged an aggressive, interior fire attack, knocking down the bulk of the fire in both apartments and the decks, and searching for tenants potentially trapped inside. Firefighters had the fire under control in less than 20 minutes and there were no injuries to tenants.
The fire posed significant hazards including: two separate apartments and exterior decks on fire, fears about trapped tenants, and concerns about a section of roof that had burnt through and had the potential to become unstable while firefighters were still inside. Crews reported the fire extinguished, just at the point that the incident commander was starting to consider pulling them out of the building and going to an exterior fire attack. Approximately 30 firefighters responded to the incident.
According to occupants on scene, neighbors began knocking on doors and notifying residents to evacuate before firefighters arrived. At least one dog was evacuated by its owner, while other pets in cages were retrieved by firefighters and reunited with their owners. According to the American Red Cross, 10 adults and three children were displaced and are being assisted by their agency.
A TVF&R fire investigator has confirmed that the fire began on the exterior deck of the ground level apartment and was started by improper disposal of smoking materials (cigarettes in a plastic garbage bag). The fire destroyed two apartment units and caused water damage to a third, below ground unit.
TVF&R reminds the public to test their smoke alarms, have an escape plan that includes two ways out of every room, and obtain renters insurance in case of fire.