‘Hero’ dog alerts Portland family to homeless camp fire

Multnomah County

The fire started in a homeless camp near Overlook Park in North Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A dog owned by a family living near North Portland’s Overlook Park is being hailed a hero after a fire broke out at a nearby homeless camp in the middle of the night.

Daphne woke her family with loud barks around 2 a.m. on Sunday. They looked outside and saw flames in the brush near the north section of the park.

The flames were coming from a homeless camp — one that had been cleared out by officials just last summer.

Another neighbor, Casey Boggs, said Daphne’s family called 911 and firefighters arrived within minutes to extinguish the blaze.

Boggs credits the dog for alerting her owners and helping prevent a worse situation.

“It if wasn’t for Daphne, the fire would have undoubtedly done more damage to the park, the hillside and the homes nearby,” Boggs said. “The entire neighborhood is relieved the damage wasn’t worse and seriously believe the dog is a hero.”

Fire crews returned the next day. Hilary Alter — one of Daphne’s owners — learned from officials there were multiple spots in the wooded area that appeared to have been set on fire.

“The firefighters, they say if it had gone on another 10 minutes, the whole park could have been on fire and our homes at risk,” Alter said.

It wouldn’t be the first fire intentionally set near the park.

Neighbors took videos of people tossing lit torches into the dry grass just 5 or 10 feet from homes last August. They believe it was someone from a homeless camp down below the bluff — with shelters allowed by the city just off North Greeley Avenue.

Homeowners want the city to find and stop whoever is responsible for lighting the fires.

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