Passers-by help teen escape from Vancouver house fire

By Mark Bowder, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: November 22, 2011, 7:28 PM

 
5718 N.E. 70th St.

Passers-by roused a teenage girl from sleep Tuesday, allowing her to escape a fire that damaged her family’s home in the Andresen neighborhood, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.

The fire at 5718 N.E. 70th St. was reported at 12:59 p.m. by passers-by who had noticed the fire and pounded on windows to warn anyone inside, said Fire Capt. Scott Willis.

The girl, 17, whose name was not released, had been sleeping one room away from the bedroom where the fire broke out. She woke up to the sound of people pounding on the window and escaped safely, Willis said.

The house did not have smoke detectors, he said.

“That’s one of those teachable moments,” Willis said. “Working smoke detectors save lives. In this case, it was lucky a bystander happened to see the fire and thought somebody was home and started banging on windows.”

Vancouver fire crews, aided by two engines from Fire District 6, arrived at 1:03 p.m. and found smoke and flames in a bedroom. They contained the fire by 1:11 p.m., before it could spread through the wallboard into the structure of the house.

Willis said the Clark County fire marshal’s office investigated and determined that the fire began when a box fan fell out of a window sill and caught fire.

The total damage was estimated at $40,000, with $25,000 damage to the structure and $15,000 damage to the contents.

County property records show the house is owned by Dennis and Jayme Mason. Willis said the house was occupied by Jason Mason, their son, Alesha Mosher and four children. The teen was the only one home at the time of the fire, Willis said.

The family will probably be displaced but will stay with friends, Willis said.

Mark Bowder: 360-735-4512; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; mark.bowder@columbian.com.