Washington County

Elderly woman dies in Hillsboro house fire

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- An elderly woman died in a house fire in Hillsboro Thursday afternoon.

Several neighbors saw the flames shooting up from the home on NW Walker Road near NW 191st just after 3 p.m. and tried to help.

"There were a few people over there trying to see what they could help [with] and within a few seconds I noticed there was a lady trapped under the stairs," neighbor River Wolf told KOIN 6 News. "She was trapped underneath the stairs, so it looked like she might have fallen through them or something like that, because she couldn't get up onto her feet."

Wolf said there was no way to get into the house because all the entrances were blocked by flames.

"I ran back to try to get a fire extinguisher to see if we could do anything get her out, but by the time I got back it was too late," Wolf said. 

Wolf said the woman and her sister, who was not home at the time, spoke little English but were very kind.

"She always had a smile on her face," he said. "I just give my condolences to the family. I hope they can get through this." 

The fire was so intense, the smoke was visible from miles away. 

"We could see that flames were coming through the roof," said Felina Powell, who works nearby.

"You just see this massive plume, a couple hundred feet in diameter," neighbor Andy Preheim said. 

It took about 40 minutes and 32 firefighters from the Hillsboro Fire Department and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue to get the fire under control. Crews extinguished the fire from the outside but had a difficult time getting inside due to a large amount of stuff in the home.

"Very soon they realized they had a deceased person just at the entry way to the house," Bruce Montgomery with Hillsboro Fire said. "They continued to work on putting out the fire. A lot of fuel in the home, so it took them a while to get it out."

WATCH: Chopper 6 over the scene of the fire


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