Fire rips through vacant duplex in Vancouver

Two 'people of interest' in fire investigation

By Mark Bowder and Erin Middlewood

Published:

Updated: April 27, 2013, 5:53 PM

 
photoFlames burn through the roof of a vacant duplex on Northeast 85th Avenue in Vancouver's Ogden neighborhood. The house's roof collapsed a few minutes later.

(/The Columbian)

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Vacant house burns

Two boys playing with fire caused a blaze that destroyed a vacant duplex in Vancouver’s Ogden neighborhood on Saturday, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.

Crews were dispatched at 2:33 p.m. to reports of the fire at 2720 N.E. 85th Ave. Firefighters arrived to find smoke billowing from a vacant, boarded-up two-story house.

Firefighters took a defensive approach to the fire, remaining outside the building and protecting exposed vegetation to keep the fire from spreading. They aimed fire hoses at flames leaping from the roof, which ultimately collapsed.

Neighbors, including Richard Rodda, pitched in to spray down trees and shrubs at surrounding houses. Rodda said the duplex has been a magnet for troublemakers. “Teenagers and the like have been in there wrecking the place,” he said.

Two boys confessed they accidentally set the fire, Vancouver Deputy Fire Marshal Chad Lawry said. The boys said they entered the house through an open back door and were playing with fire inside, Lawry said. Vancouver police questioned the boys and released them to their parents.

Richard Andrews, who lives in the house on the other side of the duplex’s back fence, said this is the second time the house has burned.

Vancouver Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Rick Steele confirmed that. The floor had holes in it, which made going inside the building to fight the fire dangerous, Steele said.

Crews brought in a track hoe to raze the structure.

County property records show the building is a duplex owned by Sondra J. Blake and Shada R. Stuckey of Washougal.