Woman credited for calling in smoke scare in Battle Ground

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Smoke coming from an abandoned nursing home in the heart of Battle Ground prompted a two-alarm fire call Sunday evening.

The elusive source was a burning mattress inside the U-shaped building at 103 N. Parkway Ave., across from Battle Ground High School.

A woman saw smoke and called 911 at 4:58 p.m., said Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy of Fire Clark Fire & Rescue.

"They've had problems with transients going inside," Dawdy said.

When firefighters could not find the source of the smoke, which was throughout the building, a second alarm was called.

Soon after, the mattress was discovered.

"It was deep inside the building," Dawdy said.

About 30 firefighters from Clark County Fire & Rescue, Fire District 3 and Vancouver Fire responded, but many were called back after the mattress was found.

Dawdy said it could have been worse than simply smoke in the building.

"There's a nice apartment community here, and those people were very concerned," he said.

He said the building has been repossessed by a credit union, and the structure has been in disrepair.

A Clark County fire marshal and Battle Ground police are investigating. Firefighters stayed on the scene until about 8 p.m.

Dawdy said he was grateful the woman called in when she saw smoke.

"This could have been a real big deal," he said.