Hot barbecue blamed for Carter Park fire

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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Fire investigators found a hibachi-style grill left to cool on top of a table cloth led to a fire Sunday night in the Carter Park neighborhood that displaced three people.

Firefighters were called to the Sunset Terrace Apartments, 3102 Kauffman Ave., shortly before 10 p.m., when the tenants in one of the duplex units noticed flames coming from outside his home.

Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli said the grill was set on top of a folding table, and had been used a couple of hours before.

Radiant heat from the grill ignited the table cloth under the grill, and the fire spread to blankets placed for privacy.

A tenant attempted to douse the fire with a pot of water, but the flames were too strong.

Everyone inside was able to get out safely. Scarpelli said firefighters rescued the home’s four cats.

The fire did extensive damage to the porch area and exterior wall, and spread up into the building’s attic space over the kitchen and bedroom.

Scarpelli said the fire did an estimated $56,000 in damage to the building and about $23,000 to its contents. The tenant had no renters insurance.

The Red Cross responded to help those affected.