Hazel Dell house fire displaces 2

Blaze heavily damages home; 2 cats dead, 3 others missing

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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HAZEL DELL — Two people were displaced after a fire heavily damaged a house filled with clutter Thursday morning.

Crews from Clark County Fire District 6 responded to the blaze, reported at 10 a.m. at 601 N.E. 83rd St. in Hazel Dell, just west of Interstate 5. Arriving firefighters reported flames coming from several sides of the two-story house, District 6 Assistant Chief Shawn Newberry said.

Though crews arrived quickly from Station 1, which is just blocks away on Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue, they had trouble battling the fire, Newberry said.

“It seems like the occupant of the house has quite a bit of material things so the guys were having a difficult time putting the fire out with the fire load,” he said.

Twenty firefighters, including those from the Vancouver Fire Department, helped put out the blaze, bringing it under control within 20 minutes, Newberry said. Crews stayed on the scene for about two hours putting out hot spots and doing overhaul on the heavily damaged home, Newberry said.

An occupant of the house was treated on scene for smoke inhalation and exhaustion, but refused to be transported, Newberry said. Four or five cats were missing while firefighters responded, but it was later discovered that some of the pets died in the fire, Newberry said.

Harold Henderson, 67, was at home Thursday morning painting his walls when he heard screaming outside.

“I just heard, ‘help,’ ” he said.

He went outside to see smoke coming from the garage of the house across the street and his neighbor running and screaming for help. The man broke some windows of his house, Henderson said, probably to try to get at his cats.

Henderson called 911, but other neighbors had already called, he said. Before firefighters could arrive, Henderson said the house was already engulfed in flames.

“It was just too hot of a fire,” he said. “It went up pretty fast.”

Deputy Clark County Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said the fire appeared to have started in a family room on the home’s lower level, but a cause hasn’t been determined.

One person was home at the time, she said.

“He had to escape through a window from his hobby room in the basement because the smoke was so heavy,” she said.

The fire spread into the garage and consumed or damaged most of the contents inside, she said, including a 1987 Dodge Raider.

Two of the home’s five cats were confirmed dead of smoke inhalation, she said. The three others were missing. Two people lived in the house.

Anderson said a neighbor, who saw flames coming from a window, was first to call 911.

The fire did an estimated $120,000 in damage to the house and $171,000 to its contents, she said.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross responded to the scene and provided the residents with basic immediate needs and information about recovery and health resources.

Fred and Nancy Volgamore are listed as the owners of the house, according to Clark County property records.