PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland firefighters say they had to crawl into a burning house past towering stacks of magazines and newspapers to search for the lone occupant, who died.
They found 67-year-old Thomas Owen in a back bedroom early Thursday. The Oregonian reports (http://is.gd/LmTPfi ) that Owen died of smoke inhalation after household items left too close to a fireplace ignited.
Fire Bureau spokesman Paul Corah says piles of paper in the three-bedroom home burned quickly. He says a fire typically doubles in size every two minutes. However, a space filled with fuel can accelerate that growth rate.
Corah says “the volume of stuff in the house” also hampered firefighters trying to find the victim.
Investigators didn’t find any smoke alarms in the house. They estimated damage at $150,000.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com