Oregon Firefighters Save House, Shop Lost


Friday, Aug. 6 at 12:14 p.m. a resident of 14938 S. Burkstrom Rd. in Oregon City called 911 to report that their shop was on fire and beginning to catch the house on fire.

The first-arriving engine company found the shop, which was located directly behind the house, had flames rolling out of the front doors and flames shooting 20-30 feet in the air. All arriving engine and truck companies were sent to the back of the home to concentrate all efforts into saving the home. The close proximity of the shop to the house made this effort a dangerous and challenging feat.

Crews fought the house fire as the shop flames burned at their backs. Due to the persistence of the firefighters and the tactical decisions made by incident command, the house sustained extensive damage but was saved. Battalion Chief Jamie Karn stated later, "This was one of the best saves of a house that I can remember." He went on to say, "These firefighters here today never gave up and that's what saved this home."

Fire crews were also able to save the family's pictures, their computer and two file cabinets with important documents inside.

The homeowner and a friend were working on a fully restored 1932 Ford Coupe in the shop when the fire broke out. They were working on a gas leak that the car had developed, and as they were searching for the leak, they pulled the carpet back in the car when it suddenly ignited. A 911 call was quickly made and the two went to grab a nearby fire extinguisher. By the time they got back to the car, however, which was in seconds, it had become fully involved. They were able to get two more vintage vehicles out just before the shop became fully engulfed in flames. Everyone got outside and waited for fire crews to arrive as they watched the blaze.

The log cabin home is 33 years old and the couple has lived there for 24 years. They had just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary the day before the fire.

There was one minor firefighter injury, which was a twisted ankle. He was treated on scene and did not go to the hospital. Clackamas Fire investigators were on scene to verify the cause and begin to estimate fire damage, which will exceed $250,000. 

The couple was applauded by firefighters for having working smoke alarms, calling 911 quickly, having a fire extinguisher close by and getting outside and staying outside.