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News Release
Four female firefighters on scene of a residential house fire in the SW Hills of Portland, OR in the middle of Women's History Month
Four female firefighters on scene of a residential house fire in the SW Hills of Portland, OR in the middle of Women's History Month
PF&R Crews battle SW Hills house fire overnight. (Photo) - 03/15/23

PF&R Crews battle SW Hills house fire overnight. 

Just before 1 AM crews responded to a residential fire in the SW Hills tucked in just below Council Crest. With tight turns and winding roads, the approach, even for the closest fire station familiar with the streets, was a challenge. The emergency dispatch center reported that the owners were all out of the home with all crews still enroute. The first arriving engine found a 3-story home with fire showing through the roof. This home is on the uphill side of SW Hillsboro below the steep grade of the hill with all homes on the addressed on the fire side terraced into the hill. The first arriving officer made sure to remind all following engines remain out on SW Beaverton Avenue to leave room for the first arriving Truck. There is only a one way to the fire address with the streets so narrow and SW Hillsboro being a dead-end road. 

The first engine took command of the fire and declared an offensive fire attack. With all other companies quite a distance away, all four members of the first arriving engine went to work to establish a water supply and get a hose line stretched to the front door. The officer and driver of the engine ran hose from the address to the nearest hydrant while the fire attack crew began to stretch the hose line up the hillside stairs. The officer and driver of the engine made certain to connect two hoses to the hydrant as a potential need for large amounts of water could be needed with the elevation and size of the home. With the hydrant established and other responding crews arriving, the interior fire attack on the home began.

The fire attack crew made entry and noted the conditions to be clear with no heat on the first floor as more companies arrived on scene and requested assignments. There was a need to reposition the hose based on the location of the internal staircase to gain access to the top floor with the makeup and design of the house. The second floor of the home was also clear with no signs of heat or smoke. 

The first arriving truck crew was assigned the primary search to be certain that all residents were out of the structure. This truck company worked alongside the fire attack crew and searched the residential spaces while the hose was advanced up to the top level of the residence.

The third story of the residence had heavy smoke and high heat conditions when reached by the interior fire attack crew. The fire attack crew called for water at this point and was able to begin attacking the flames. There was a request for an increase in the water pressure by the fire attack crew. The location of the fire could have been 40’ higher than the level of the engine because of the homes being built into a steep hillside. A secondary line was drawn by the next arriving crew as the truck positioned itself at the front of the home to be a backup line if needed.

More crews arrived and were assigned many different tasks. A second attack line was employed. A hose to the exterior was requested. The second truck crew was assigned to ladder up to the roof if a roof cut was needed for vertical ventilation and attic access from the exterior.

The safety chief was able to relay good updates to the command vehicle which was positioned on the street below with a difficult view line. These updates successfully kept command abreast of the fire conditions. The large size of the home and the uphill position provided a challenge for the crews but with 2 lines on the interior of the home flowing water on the flames resulted in the main body of fire on the third floor completely extinguished within 20 minutes of arrival. There were small fires on both the interior and exterior of the home that took a bit of time to finally extinguish. The entire incident was considered completely addressed and all fire extinguished 45 minutes after the call was received in the Emergency Dispatch Center. All responding crews remained on scene to return hoses to the fire engines and ladders to the fire trucks.

Homes that are terraced into hillsides present additional unique challenges aside from the previously mentioned need for an increased hose pressure to accommodate for the elevated nozzle position. Laddering the structure can be difficult along with gaining little to no access of the side of the home built into the hillside. 

There were no injuries reported. Power company was notified of a downed power line and was responding with no estimated time of arrival available. No other utilities were requested. 


Portland Fire & Rescue would like to make a note that 25% of the working firefighters that responded to and were involved in the team effort of extinguishing this fire are female members of our organization as we are in the middle of Women’s History Month. 


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