Seven people were displaced by a fire Tuesday morning at a house north of Vancouver. Officials suspect it was caused by a phone or tablet left charging on a bed.
Crews responded just before 10 a.m. to the house fire at 5700 N.E. 139th St., in the Pleasant Highlands neighborhood.
Firefighters found smoke coming from the second story, and crews used a hose inside the house to knock down the flames, Vancouver firefighter Joe Spatz said. Crews contained the fire in about 10 minutes.
Crews from the Vancouver Fire Department, Clark County Fire District 2 and Clark County Fire District 6 responded, Spatz said.
It’s uncommon for a malfunctioning mobile device to cause a house fire, Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said. It appears the device caught a corner of the mattress on fire in an upstairs bedroom; that set off a smoke alarm, alerting the two residents home at the time, she added.
The two residents and a puppy escaped the home unscathed, Anderson said.
“The working smoke alarm definitely made a difference as far as early notification for people in the house,” she said. She suggested that people avoid charging devices when they aren’t home or when they are sleeping, in the off chance of a malfunction.
The fire, smoke and water damaged the two-story, 4,800-square-foot house, said Anderson. Damage to the home’s contents was estimated at $221,000, and damage to the structure was estimated at $49,000, she said.