Man dies in Troutdale fire, neighbors save mom

7-14-13-troutdale fire
A fast-moving fire in Troutdale took the life of a 52-year-old man early Sunday morning at this home on SW Sunset Road July 14, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) — A fast-moving fire in Troutdale took the life of a 52-year-old man early Sunday morning.

It happened just after midnight on SW Sunset Road.

Investigators said the man’s elderly mother survived the blaze, thanks to the bravery and quick thinking of neighbors next door.

Brian Calligan and his neighbor Michael Johnson saw the flames, coming from the house on SW Sunset Way, shortly before midnight.

“I stepped out on my front porch, looked over to the house, saw flames shooting out of the garbage can,” said neighbor Brian Calligan.

As the flames quickly spread, Calligan and Johnson ran over to the house and started pounding on windows and doors. They knew two people were inside: a 52-year-old man and his elderly mother.

7-14-13-troutdale fire
What remains of a SW Sunset Road home after a fast-moving fire took the life of a 52-year-old man early Sunday morning July 14, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

“And she yelled to me, I called 911,” Johnson said, “and I said, ‘Just get out!'”

“I said ‘Kick the door down, kick the door down!'” Calligan recounted. “And he gave two good kicks; the door came down.”

“And I kicked on it a couple of times and it flew open, and we saw her,” Johnson said, “and I ran in and grabbed her by the arm, and another neighbor guy helped me, and I drug her out to the porch.”

7-14-13-troutdale fire injury
Michael Johnson shows his injury after falling down while saving the woman next door from this fire. (KOIN 6 News)

Johnson said he fell down and hurt his leg in the process. The woman was out, but the fire continued to grow with her son believed to be inside.

“Within five minutes the whole side of the house was in flames, engulfed,” Johnson said.

By this time flames had started to catch other homes on fire. This was just the time when the Gresham Fire Department arrived.

“Everything happened so quick,” Johnson said. “We told the fire department, ‘There’s a man in there.'”

But it was too late.

7-14-13-troutdale firework
One of the fireworks found at the scene of a Sunday, July 14, 2013, fire believed to have started in a garbage can at a home in Troutdale, Ore. A 52-year-old man died in that fire. (KOIN 6 News)

“We assume that maybe he just didn’t hear the knocking on the window, ” said Calligan of the 52-year-old man who died in this fire. “…Maybe he had passed out or something, unfortunately.”

Troutdale officers arrived to assist. They escorted several residents of nearby homes away from the fire.

Investigators are looking into fireworks as a possible cause. Calligan and Johnson said they both had been lighting fireworks with the victim earlier.

“I told him to be careful with the fireworks,” Calligan said. “I said ‘Hey, those things are still hot.'”

The names of the victims have not been released.

The elderly woman was burned, but not severely enough to keep her hospitalized. She has been treated and released.

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