Just after 6p.m. on December 1, a passing motorist was flagged down by a man whose house was on fire. After 911 was called, firefighters arrived within a few minutes to find flames coming from the roof and garage of the home located in the 8000 block of SW Birchwood Road in unincorporated Washington County.
Firefighters controlled the blaze within 25 minutes and worked for another two hours to salvage belongings, check for hot spots and decontaminate tools and gear.
Based on an interview with the homeowner, burn patterns and material evidence, a TVF&R fire investigator has determined that the fire was caused by a burned towel that had been discarded into a trash bin in the garage. The towel ignited combustibles and fire spread quickly through the garage and into the attic space.
When the homeowner discovered the fire, he attempted to extinguish it with a garden hose, but it had grown too large and hot. Fortunately, he was not injured but has been displaced. The oversized garage contained eight vintage cars that were damaged by smoke, water or fire. The insured home did not have a residential fire sprinkler system.
TVF&R was assisted by Portland Fire & Rescue, Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (911), Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Portland General Electric