Orange flames roared out of two upstairs windows of a Hazel Dell home Monday, likely destroying it, but firefighters saved the home next door and no one was reported injured.
The owner of the home at 505 N.W. 86th St., Elmer Brown, 64, said he was sitting on a couch watching TV when he heard a smoke detector and alerted his wife Ardis and two grandchildren. Ardis Brown had been using a computer; one grandchild was taking a shower and the other was playing a video game in the dining room.
“We all got out as we called 911,” he said. The fire was reported around 5 p.m. and about 40 firefighters from Fire District 6 and Vancouver Fire Department rushed to the scene. The house is near Jason Lee Middle School.
A neighbor who was at the scene before firefighters, said flames were flaring out two large upstairs windows that were shattered by the heat. Heavy black smoke was erupting from the windows and continued to do so for hours.
When firefighters arrived, they hit the burning areas with water and also streamed water on an endangered home 12 to 20 feet away from the burning home, as well as a 100-foot-tall tree in the backyard.
Shadow, a black Labrador dog in the backyard, was found and left with neighbors. The family also had two Chihuahua dogs that were taken out of the home and not injured.
Firefighters made sure no one was inside, then used a defensive attack, sending their water on the heavy flames from outside.
Within a few minutes, a battalion chief called for a second alarm and the Vancouver Fire Department sent engines and crews to help.
“It sucks,” Elmer Brown said, adding that he has fire insurance.
Seven fire engines and a rescue truck worked on the fire, said Larry Reese, a battalion chief and the incident commander with Fire District 6.
Reese said he thinks the house was totaled He said there was not much flame damage downstairs, “Just smoke and heat.”
Ken Hill, a Clark County deputy fire marshal, said he would go inside, and asked the firefighters to limit damaging evidence that could make it difficult or impossible to determine what caused the fire.
Firefighters continued to douse hot spots and to clean up for hours.