Just after 3a.m. on January 1, 2016 firefighters responded to a fire at a Tigard apartment complex located at 11200 SW Greenburg Road. Initial callers reported heavy smoke and flames coming from a balcony with people yelling for help. One female resident jumped from a third story apartment just prior to firefighters’ arrival and sustained injuries from the fall. She was transported by Metro West Ambulance to Emanuel hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
First-arriving firefighters began an initial fire attack and search for trapped victims. They discovered a man unresponsive inside a burning apartment and carried him from the building. He was treated by firefighter paramedics on scene and transported by Metro West Ambulance to Emanuel Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Additional firefighters continued to search apartments, evacuate residents and extinguish the fire which completely destroyed one apartment. Adjacent apartments sustained smoke and water damage. Firefighters worked for nearly 40 minutes to control the blaze and nearly an hour more to douse hot spots and check for extension. It’s unclear exactly how many residents are displaced, but none of the tenants will be able to return to their homes today. The American Red Cross is assisting families with lodging and amenities.
Firefighters contended with frigid outside temperatures which froze runoff water. A recreation building was used to shelter displaced residents who were eventually allowed to get a few belongings before the building will be boarded up for safety during the investigation.
Some apartments had working smoke alarms, but the complex did not have a fire sprinkler system. When a fire sprinkler system is present, 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.)
Residents living in multi-story buildings are strongly urged to practice home fire escape plans and have portable ladders in upper-story bedrooms.
The fire remains under investigation at this hour and there are no damage estimates available. Firefighters were assisted by Tigard Police officers and PGE crews.