A fast-moving fire destroyed a house, a detached garage and a car, and damaged a second house near Clark College Thursday afternoon. It was one of two nearly concurrent major fires that stretched firefighting resources throughout the metro area.
The fire erupted about 4:40 p.m. at 1517 East Reserve St. Witnesses told firefighters they heard popping and saw something flying in the air.
The fire quickly spread to a detached garage behind the car, then a house, and then the neighboring house to the north.
A Vancouver Fire Department spokesman said a passerby went into the burning house to help the resident and her three dogs escape.
It was 104 degrees in Vancouver when the fire started, the hottest Aug. 3 on record, and officials had warned all day the fire conditions in Clark County were extreme.
A plume of dark smoke was visible from downtown before firefighters arrived at the scene. The first firefighters to arrive quickly called for a second alarm, bringing more units from the Vancouver Fire Department and Clark County Fire District 6.
They formed into two companies to attack the fire and protect the other neighbors, according to emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian.
The flames were mostly knocked down in about 30 minutes. It appeared the home, garage and the car, an older sedan, were destroyed. The neighbor’s home, 1523 East Reserve St., had substantial damage. A semicircle was burned into the lawn around the driveway.
Corey Farr, 32, who lives at 1523 East Reserve St., said he was in the house when he heard a loud popping noise. He went to look out the window and saw the fence between his house and the neighbor’s driveway was on fire. Then, the window shattered from the heat. He spent about three minutes looking for his cats when a passerby knocked on the door and helped Farr search for them. Farr said he is still missing one cat.
One individual was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but he refused to go the hospital.
A fire marshal will investigate.