Vancouver firefighters battle blaze in vacant house

By Mark Bowder, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor



Fire heavily damaged an abandoned house in Vancouver’s Ogden neighborhood Saturday evening, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.

Firefighters responding to a 6:23 p.m. report of the fire arrived to find smoke and some flames coming from a boarded-up residence at 8116 N.E. 32nd St., said Capt. Scott Willis.

But when firefighters began removing plywood sheeting over the house’s windows to gain access to the fire, they found the fire had already consumed most of the house’s interior.

Willis said it was unsafe to send firefighters inside the building, so crews took a defensive approach, applying water to the fire from the outside before moving back to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby trees and shrubs. The plan was to let it burn itself out slowly; as of 9:15 p.m., it was still burning.

Firefighters saw an old mattress and book inside the house, which suggested someone had been squatting in the house at one point, but Willis said it wasn’t clear how long it had been since anyone had been inside the building.

There was no electric service to the house. A fire marshal has been called in to investigate.

The property owner is listed in county records as Aleksandr Belash of Vancouver.