Photo Story: Tualatin Valley Crews Tackle House Fire

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters were dispatched to a reported fire in a two-story duplex on Aug. 6 in Beaverton.

Engine 53 from the Progress fire station arrived within five minutes to find a fully involved attached garage, fire up the exterior wall of the duplex, and fire racing throughout the attic space above the two units.

Station 53 and subsequent arriving crews conducted a search for occupants, battled the exterior fire, and opened up ceilings on the second floor of both units so as to access and extinguish the fire in the attic space. Crews had the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes, but battled small pockets of active fire on the exterior and in the attic for over an hour.

According to the duplex's owner, the occupants included an adult male and female, and child in one unit; and an adult male and female, and two children in the other unit. According to the occupants in the unit attached to the garage, they heard a noise in the garage and upon opening the door saw fire in the garage. They exited their home and quickly warned the next door unit's occupant. The occupants have been displaced from their homes and are staying with friends and family.

With temperatures nearing 90 degrees today, firefighters can be at risk of heat exhaustion.

Public Information Officer Karen Eubanks, states, "Firefighters wear heavy, fire-resistant, protective turnouts and equipment weighing in excess of 50 pounds when battling a structure fire. This, combined with interior fire temperatures averaging near 1,000 degrees, can result in firefighters becoming dehydrated more quickly." Eubanks added, "It is not uncommon during times of hot temperatures, to bring in more resources on a structure fire in an effort to provide firefighters with a break to re-hydrate and cool down."

The fire is under investigation at this hour. Both units in the duplex sustained heavy heat, smoke, and water damage to their entire second story, and water damage to their first story. Firefighters took precautions during the incident to protect the occupant's furniture and other belongings with tarps.