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Fire that ruined an abandoned house sent a spectacular plume of smoke and flame above the Sifton area Wednesday evening.
Residents of the nearby Meadow Wood Apartments complex called to report the fire, along Northeast 124th Avenue just north of Fourth Plain Road, at 5:23 p.m. Vancouver firefighters from Station 4, at Fourth Plain and Northeast 147th Avenue, saw a header of black smoke before they arrived.
Fire burned all around the two-story, derelict structure, and flames shot out of nearly every window, said Capt. Kevin Murray, spokesman for the Vancouver Fire Department. The burning house was unsafe to enter, so firefighters attacked the blaze from the outside, getting it under control in about 10 minutes.
“We were never able to get it all the way out,” Murray said.
He said it was a defensive effort, as there was nothing to be saved of the dilapidated structure.
“The only safe thing is to let it burn,” Murray said, adding that firefighters stayed for hours.
Police were called to assist with traffic control and to deal with a belligerent man who was in the backyard of the burning structure. Northeast 124th Avenue, a small street that leads north from Fourth Plain, was closed.
Capt. John Jacobson walked through the house with a thermal-imaging camera, scanning the floors for any bodies, before the ceiling fell in. None was found.
No firefighters were injured.
The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating what may have caused the fire. The house is not hooked up to power, ruling out electrical problems, Murray said.
“It’s done being a house,” he said. “Now it will just get knocked down a little quicker.”
Property records list the address as 6607 N.E. 124th Ave., in the Sifton neighborhood. The landowner is Old Trolley Square LLC, a holding company that shares a Hazel Dell address with City Harvest Church. The house and some sheds on the property have no economic value, according to property records.
City Harvest Church’s website says the church owns 14.5 acres along Fourth Plain. City Harvest envisions developing the property for mixed use, anchored by a church building.
"Our goal is to be in a central location in our city, to give access to rich and poor alike, and to give us access to them as well," according to the website.