Updated with Fire Cause:
A TVF&R fire investigator has determined that Sunday's apartment fire at 18120 NW Cornell Road in Beaverton was accidental. At the time of the fire, the occupants were just moving into the unit. The fire resulted when cardboard boxes came in contact with the control knobs of the unit's electric range, turning the range on. The boxes, which were stacked on top of the range, ignited while the occupants were away.
Moving day fires are not uncommon as it can be a hectic and disruptive time when moving personal belongings into an unfamiliar environment. TVF&R's fire investigator suggests that residents and property managers consider shutting off the breaker to the electric range on moving day to avoid such fires.
At 4:37 p.m., TVF&R firefighters were dispatched to reports of flames and heavy black smoke billowing from the windows of an apartment unit at 18120 NW Cornell Road in Beaverton. Initial reports also expressed concern that the flames were in danger of spreading to trees surrounding the ground-floor unit.
Upon arrival, fire crews from Somerset Station 64 and Butner Road Station 61 initiated an aggressive fire attack, knocking down the fire in minutes. Additional crews searched the fire unit and surrounding seven units for occupants, as well as for fire extension. Everyone evacuated safely and the fire was stopped from spreading to any other apartment units.
A TVF&R fire investigator is currently on scene working to determine the fire cause. The fire unit suffered extensive smoke and fire damage and is uninhabitable at this time. In total, seven people have been displaced from the fire unit and three additional units. The American Red Cross is assisting displaced residents with finding alternate housing.
Because firefighters worked this fire in 95 degree heat, the incident commander shortened work times and rotated crews out of the building more frequently than during normal weather conditions to ensure they did not suffer heat exhaustion and stayed hydrated. TVF&R was assisted on this fire with mutual aid from Hillsboro Fire & Rescue.
The unit had smoke alarms, which reportedly sounded, but lacked a fire sprinkler system. When a fire sprinkler system is present – in residential or commercial structures – the likelihood of injuries and costly damage is dramatically reduced. More information about fire sprinkler systems can be found at: http://www.tvfr.com/index.aspx?nid=144.