Homeless camp fire spreads to roof of home

Multnomah County

Tarps, shopping carts, possibly tents and a tree above the camp were all burning

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fire that started at a homeless camp in Southeast Portland ignited a neighbor’s roof Monday afternoon.

Portland Fire and Rescue said tarps, shopping carts, possibly tents and a tree above the camp were all burning when firefighters arrived.

An area of about 20 by 50 feel burned at the camp on Southeast 96th Avenue.

“The thing about these homeless camp fires is that a lot of the products of combustion are made of petroleum products, so they burn super fast and super hot,” Lt. Laurent Picard said.

A fire that started at a homeless camp in Southeast Portland ignited a neighbor’s roof Monday, July 29, 2019. (KOIN)

After they put out the first fire, crews noticed a house across the street was also burning.

“An ember from the homeless camp fire had drifted across the street, landed on the roof and ignited the roof on fire,” Picard said.

Firefighters had to use chainsaws to cut parts of the roof away to make sure the fire was out.

Next door to the fire, Corise Lee has been concerned about the homeless camp — but never thought it would go up in flames.

“We were trying to get them to move on and they didn’t want to move,” Lee said. “I don’t like it because we have a lot of kids around. We’ve been watching them carefully because of that.”

No injuries have been reported and no one was displaced from the home. Portland Fire and Rescue said there were no campers around when they got there.

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