PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- A three-alarm fire at a condominium complex in the Orchards area of East Vancouver sent a lot of people banging on doors and grabbing what they could before they evacuated.
The fire broke out just after 8 p.m. Tuesday near NE 121st Ave and 49th Street. It was first reported as a two-alarm fire, but -- in the blink of an eye -- the fire raced up the outside of a building in the One Lake Place condominium complex, got into the attic and set the roof of an entire building on fire.
Even from three blocks away, the fire "smoked up the whole neighborhood on 49th St.," writes KOIN Facebook follower Juliet Nimmo.
The fire appeared to be mainly contained to the upper portion of one of the buildings of the complex. The 911 call first came through as an attic fire.
Roy Johnson was watching television from next door when the commotion started. He said he could see flames "out of that third floor," Johnson said. "It was just bellerin' out of there."
Heavy smoke and fire poured from the roof of Fern Gollehan's building. She heard people yelling "fire" and left before she even had time to put shoes on. She was reunited with her daughter Melissa a short time later.
"She called me and told me the building was on fire and I said I was coming," Melissa Gollehan said. "And I was parked down the way and thought the building was gone ... and I got scared when she didn't answer."
Cheryl Monke grabbed her dog and then she and her husband grabbed what else they could and left.
"Our neighbor from across the way, that has four small children, he came and knocked and said there was fire and we had to get out," Monke told KOIN 6 News. "I came out and there was a huge plume of smoke."
Vancouver fire reports that 12 units in this building sustained either fire or smoke damage. People in those units will not return for now. The American Red Cross Oregon Region office has responded to help.
The cause remains under investigation, although early Wednesday morning, Vancouver fire officials reported that investigators had ruled out fireworks as a possible cause.
The three-alarm fire included at least one engine from east Portland.
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Citing nearly a foot of snow and frigid temperatures, officials from Oregon State University announced their main campus will be closed on Monday -- even though it is the first day of finals week.
A Multnomah County deputy who stopped on the Fremont Bridge to help a disabled motorist was injured when a car lost control on an icy spot and hit the guard rail.
Police cars were damaged in two separate incidents when drivers ran into them, one by a suspected drunk driver, the other by a man fleeing in stolen car.