LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN) — The fire that destroyed a Lake Oswego house and damaged another likely started in the wall behind the fireplace and was smoldering for at least a day.
That’s what the Lake Oswego Fire Department said Tuesday, about 15 hours after the blaze erupted on SW Oriole Lane.
Crews from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue and well as Portland Fire and Rescue were brought out to help battle the fire between SW Peacock and SW Pheasant.
Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk said there was no fire in the fireplace at the time the blaze erupted. The resident had a fire the night before.
“We believe the fires in the fireplace itself were larger, so it heated up after all these times. There was a large fire in the fireplace that made it brittle, the wood around the fireplace,” Zoutendijk said. “It just had the right mixture of air and heat and it probably had been smoldering a couple days, or at least during the day.”
Lake Oswego Fire told KOIN 6 News that the person who rents the home that burned down had left to grab dinner. When he came back, he saw a glow in the window and opened the front door to flames raging inside.
When the resident left, the door opening created enough air to get the fire going, the fire marshal said. “When he came back and opened the door, it gave a rush of air that made the fire accelerate faster.”
Four other homes on the block were evacuated as crews worked to contain the flames. Trees in the backyards also caught fire.
At one point, a burning chimney fell onto a neighboring home and caused exterior damage.
Norm Burns, who lives in the house the chimney fell on, said there was just minimal damage, though he said he could see “the side of the house was actually on fire.”
“I feel terrible for (his neighbor) and I feel absolutely blessed that I dodged a major bullet,” Burns said. “I still have a place because for me it could have been much worse.”
Firefighters said the blaze was under control before 7:30 p.m., and estimated it took a total of 45 minutes to battle from when they first arrived at the scene.
No injuries were reported, according to Portland Fire and Rescue, however there was a 5-month-old puppy inside the home at the time that has not been found.
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