Fire damages vacant house in Vancouver

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



An old stack of newspapers was to blame when a fire caused about $20,000 worth of damage to an empty house Saturday morning.

Four engines and one truck from the Vancouver Fire Department responded at 9:49 a.m. Saturday to a residential fire at 602 S.E. 100th Ave.

Firefighter-paramedic Kevin Stromberg said the fire was traced to a stack of newspapers that had been piled on top of a heating outlet in the floor of a bedroom.

The property is owned by a bank, and a contractor had been hired to clean the house. When a worker turned the power on, the heating system started up. In 20 minutes or so, the worker noticed the smell of smoke coming from the bedroom.

Eighteen firefighters who responded quickly had the fire under control. Most of the units were released after about five minutes, Stromberg said.

Damage to the single-story, wood-framed house was limited.

However, the fire serves as another example of the importance of keeping combustible materials away from anything that produces heat, Stromberg said.