UPDATE: Two escape injury in Vancouver Heights house fire

Fire alarm, smart response credited for safety

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: July 1, 2013, 7:39 PM

 
house fire

Two people escaped injury after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a Vancouver Heights house early Monday morning.

A woman woke up about 4:45 a.m. to the sound of a fire alarm, said Vancouver Fire Department Capt. Scott Willis. She touched her door, felt that it was hot and left the house through her first-floor bedroom window, he said.

Because the alarm company alerted the fire department of the call at 8508 Silver Star Ave., the agency sent only one engine.

When firefighters arrived, they found smoke had filled the street and the woman told them there was a fire — and her roommate was still inside.

The man did not wake when firefighters yelled and banged on the walls and windows, Willis said. He finally awoke as firefighters started to enter the burning house. They evacuated him through his bedroom window.

Firefighters attacked the flames from outside because the blaze had spread to the attic above the kitchen, and then from inside. It was extinguished within 10 minutes, Willis said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage to the structure was contained to the kitchen and the attic above the kitchen.

Willis said the woman who felt that the door was hot and left through the window responded exactly as fire agencies tell people to react. He also said this was a perfect example of how fire alarms save lives.