Neighbor rescues man from apartment fire

Smoke alarms and sprinklers work to put out the flames

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



An alert neighbor rescued a man from a Vancouver apartment that caught on fire Saturday afternoon.

Vancouver firefighters were dispatched at 3:10 p.m. to the Sterling Heights apartment complex at 1221 S.E. Ellsworth Road.

A fire started in a first-floor apartment after a cigarette was discarded improperly, said Kevin Stromberg, spokesman and firefighter-paramedic for the Vancouver Fire Department.

The neighbor heard the smoke alarms going off and went to the front of the apartment. He saw smoke and water coming out from under the front door. The door was locked, so he ran to the back of the apartment complex and went through the back door, calling for the resident, Stromberg said.

He found the resident and assisted him out of the building. At the time, the apartment was filled with smoke. The fire had activated two sprinkler heads, which doused the flames before they had the opportunity to spread, Stromberg said.

The working smoke detectors and sprinkler system — and the helpful neighbor — saved the man living in the apartment, Stromberg said. Although the man needed assistance getting out of the building, he was not taken to a hospital.

The smoke and water caused an estimated $75,000 damage to the apartment, along with an adjacent apartment, according to the Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office.